HYDERABAD: A group of children sitting together for a storytelling session, running their imagination wild. This session is, however, unusual as students are sharing their stories by drawings and cartoons featuring their comic heroes and all the stories have one thing in common — good bugs and bad bugs and how bad bugs are turning into superbugs due to indiscriminate use of antibiotics.

In a novel exercise to fight the increasing problem of antibiotic resistance caused by superbugs, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and are involving school students to raise awareness about the subject by creating their own and stories. Over the last two months, students of various city schools including Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society have narrated tales, made cartoons and drawings and gave poster presentations on the need to check antibiotic resistance. Some of the stories are centred around comic superheroes.

The programme was launched in June and has successfully created awareness among students. The Superheroes against Superbugs program is a unique initiative of the Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance (India Alliance) that aims to involve schoolchildren as partners in engaging with the public on antibiotic resistance and its perils.

This program also aims to create a platform to initiate conversations about antibiotic resistance between children and community groups. “We identify the need to initiate dialogue in public about the serious threat of antibiotic resistance. This is especially important in a country like India because of significantly high incidence of inappropriate use of antibiotics, misinformed consumption and easy availability,” said Banya Kar, communication consultant, Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance.

The programme comprises interactive games and creative activities based on various concepts related to microbes, infections, antibiotics and resistance and interactive sessions with scientists and doctors. Facilitated by educators, artists and technologists, children are encouraged to explore and develop creatives such as comics and short animated films to initiate a dialogue on antibiotic resistance.
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