A Unique Therapy: Doctors At AIIMS Are Now Prescribing Comics To Their Patients

Comics!! The most interesting books, which can convert your yawning into smiles. Comics have always been a medium to express ideas by images, often combined with text or other visual information.

Grassroots comics, being another favourite comics connecting people all over the world. These comics tell a local story drawn by local people (not artists) in the local language. These comics are the tools for all citizens which can transcend the barriers of language, literacy, resources and social classes.

After covering so many social issues like illiteracy, poverty, human rights and health issues (aids, malaria, infanticides etc.) with his comic, Sharad Sharma took an initiative to improve the Doctor-Patient communication through a workshop in AIIMS.

“I was going to offer comics as graphic medicine,” said Sharma. “The idea was to introduce this medium to doctors and therapists as a way to communicate better with patients or to simplify medical jargon. But I wasn’t sure whether this would be accepted as a serious idea or worth their time.”

But to his response, Sharma was told that almost 30 people had registered for the workshop, even though there were only 25 seats. There were surgeons, physiotherapists and lab technicians in attendance, all eager to learn.

“It is not about the art. It’s about the story. The focus should be on communicating. If it successfully tells a story, then it is well drawn, no matter what the quality of the image is.” He made the doctors comfortable with drawing and asked them to draw in the air before penning on a paper.

To his amusement, there were different beautiful expressions each with an important message. “I was surprised at the self-critical nature of some of the

stories,” said Sharma. “They were not shying away from addressing some of their flaws.”

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According to Yogesh Kumar, educational media generalist at AIIMS, the doctors have requested for more such workshops. “Those who could attend the workshop were extremely pleased,” said Kumar. “They were being able to express themselves and in such a creative way too. The posters created by them have already been displayed in places where the patients can see them. They want to learn more of this form of expression so that they can begin using this medium in their everyday operations.”

By: Simran Dhingra

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