Sumita Vaid

Vivek Oberoi plays 'bhai' to combat TB

Oberoi as the 'Teen-hafta bhai' educates people about the early symptoms of tuberculosis

Directly Observed Treatment Short Course – in short, DOTS – is a global scheme that ensures cure for Tuberculosis. In the past, campaigns for the scheme has had cricketers such as Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan lending their support.

Now, Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi has decided to join hands with DOTS. Oberoi, who has been actively helping Tsunami victims, is the 'Teen hafta bhai' for DOTS, educating people about tuberculosis. And more importantly, assuring them that TB is curable.

Delivering this message are two films by RK Swamy BBDO. One is the ‘Teen hafta bhai’ film that shows if coughing lasts for more than three weeks, it could be TB. The second film, ‘Munna’s school’, deals with the issue of stigma attached to the disease and the need to show care and support towards TB patients and their families.

Here's a look at the 'Teen hafta bhai' film to see how Oberoi is generating awareness among people.

The film starts with Oberoi aka 'Teen hafta bhai' walks through a long winding narrow lane. People in the street salute and greet him. The lane leads to an open area and Oberoi and his two flunkeys are seen approaching a man – apparently to settle a dispute.

Oberoi's assistants inform him that the mean looking fellow suffers from severe coughing. Alarmed, Oberoi asks one of his assistants to administer a 'goli' immediately. Just as Oberoi's accomplice is about to take out a gun, our Bhai chides him by saying, “...Yeh wali nahin, DOTS wali.”

As the lackeys take away the unwell man to a health centre, Oberoi explains that if coughing persists for more than three weeks, then it may be TB. In the same breath, he assures that TB is curable. The ad ends with Oberoi urging people to go to DOTS health centre, “Pakke ilaaj ka pakka wada.”

Considering that India has the highest number of TB cases in the world, the task at hand for RK Swamy BBDO was to generate awareness about TB. After all, nearly 1.8 million people develop tuberculosis every year and around 1,000 die every day, or there is one casualty per minute. Further, the social costs of TB are enormous. Every year, more than one lakh women are rejected by their families and more than three lakh children drop out of school to work or stay at home because their parents have TB.

So the communication had to deal with the twin problems linked with TB. First, of course, educate people about TB and second, make an attempt to remove the social stigma attached to the disease.

“The need to create awareness about TB, its diagnosis and cure through DOTS strategy is very important for the success of the programme. Vivek Oberoi came forward to work for this cause and agreed to do these films for the Central TB Division under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. In these films Vivek is seen recommending treatment under DOTS – the sure cure for TB”, explains K Ananthakrishnan Ravi, general manager, social rural marketing division, RK Swamy BBDO.

Balancing the seriousness of the message are small doses of entertainment. “These films attempt to increase awareness and understanding about TB by blending the message with the right dose of entertainment which Vivek's character brings to films,” says Mukesh Anand, associate creative director, social rural marketing division, RK Swamy BBDO, who conceived and scripted the films.

The films have been produced by Far Commercials, Mumbai. © 2005 agencyfaqs!

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