SADAG Speaking Books recognised as one of 15 most innovative African ideas!
Mail & Guardian - 26 August 2012
The South African Mail and Guardian has identified 15 ideas they believe can help transform Africa. The Speaking Book is honoured to be recognised as one of the 15 innovative ideas.
Idea: A range of easy-to-use audio books designed to get potentially life-saving health messages out to millions of isolated people struggling with depression and mental health problems.
Problem: In 2003, Zane Wilson, the founder of the South African Depression & Anxiety Group (Sadag), the country's largest mental health initiative, was horrified at how suicide rates among young South Africans were spiking. Mental health carries a huge social stigma across Africa and information booklets designed to help people with depression or mental health problems simply weren't working, especially in remote communities with high illiteracy rates. People weren't getting the help they needed—a 2009 study showed that only a quarter of the 16.5% of South Africans suffering from mental health problems had received any kind of treatment.
Method: Speaking Books created a range of free books with simple audio buttons talking the user through each page. The first Speaking Book, voiced by South African actress and celebrity Lillian Dube, was called Suicide Shouldn't Be a Secret and focused on how depression is a real and treatable illness, encouraging people to get help when they need it.
Verdict: Speaking Books have now produced 48 titles in 24 different languages and are now used in 20 African countries across the continent. The books now tackle a number of critical healthcare issues outside of suicide prevention such as HIV and Aids, malaria, maternal health and clinical trials. Speaking Books has also expanded to China, India and South America. "The situation we face in rural South Africa is the same in any other African country—low literacy compounded by lack of access to services and affordable healthcare," says Wilson. "This means that patients are often not able to get help for many health problems. We believe that this interactive, durable, high-quality, hardcover book engages the user or patient, and allows them to build self-confidence and skills with a simple action plan". AK
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Click on this link to find out more about the Speaking Books - the brain child of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group. The Speaking Books are educational and instructional tools aimed at low level literacy populations.
The sales of the Speaking Books help fund SADAG's many phone lines.
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