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Songs for Public Health: Lyrics to Save Lives

Public health messages reach remote areas in a musical manner.

WINTER 2010
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In the Western world, public health messages reach us through numerous channels. Yet options quickly narrow for the millions around the globe who are illiterate or live in remote areas. Some health officials and community organizers are responding with something integral to all cultures: song.

“I WANT YOU TO KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT WELLS...”

In Cambodia, where many rivers and wells are contaminated, Resource Development International is teaching people about water safety with karaoke videos. Trucks bearing karaoke equipment arrive in villages where adults and children gather to sing along to videos addressing issues from bacterial contamination to arsenic poisoning. (Lyrics and video courtesy of Resource Development International.)

LYRICS:

(M) Cambodia! Our nation is a happy and wonderful country. We have plenty of natural resources… clean and clear water…

(F) Yes, but you know what, think about what is the problem? I want you to know something about wells, so that, you can prevent a problem in the future. Some wells have Arsenic which can make us sick and harm our health. So, please remember it. Don’t forget!

(M) I appreciate you telling me this, thank you. But I am still not sure about Arsenic. What if we boil the water, will that kill the Arsenic?

(F) Boiling your water will not kill or remove the Arsenic. And there isn’t anything you can do to remove it from your water

(Talking) (M) Well… If there is no way to remove Arsenic from water, what should we do?

(F)Please, don’t worry. Now, the Water Educator has come to test all the wells for Arsenic in our village.

(M) Really?

(F) Yes, really. And if the well is painted in Green color, that means that the water is safe to drink. But if the well is painted in Red color, that means that well water has high Arsenic and can not be used for drinking, but can be used for washing dishes and clothes.

(M) That is right. So, we don’t have to worry anymore, right?

(Together) Cambodia! Our nation is a happy and wonderful country. And all of us will join together to prevent Arsenic problems in the future.

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