Evaluating educational media using traditional folk songs (‘: a health message combined with oral traditionlam: a health message combined with oral tradition’) in Laos: a health message combined with oral tradition

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In the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos), health education is clearly a core aspect of the health service and is vital in improving people's lives through good health. However, there are many obstacles to conducting effective health education. The development of effective educational media is one solution to these problems. In Laos, traditional folk songs (lam) are preserved as part of the local communication media, and recently this communication medium has been used for health education. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of educational media using lam. For this purpose, we conducted focus group discussions with 48 participants. The reactions of the participants towards a lam, developed for preventing HIV/AIDS, were analysed using the KJ (Kawakita Jiro) method. The analysis showed there were eight areas of concern: (1) interest in a lam talking about HIV/AIDS; (2) knowledge and perception related to HIV infection routes; (3) expressing a willingness for preventing HIV/AIDS; (4) togetherness with people living with HIV/AIDS; (5) HIV/AIDS education for children; (6) improving educational methods; (7) characteristics and effectiveness of the lam and (8) song preferences. The reactions of the participants, such as gaining knowledge and expressing individual attitudes and community actions for preventing HIV/AIDS, were promoted by the characteristics and effectiveness of the lam such as oral tradition, artistry and cultural values. In particular, the oral tradition represented by lam is useful for the Lao people in memorizing and communicating information.

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