Improving visual communication aids to reduce maternal mortality in PNG : a preliminary investigation

2017-02-21T23:02:01Z (GMT) by Pagoda, Carlo
In Northem Europe, a woman's risk of dying as a result of pregnancy or childbirth in her lifetime is approximately I in 30,000. In Papua New Guinea this figure is approximately I in 20. PNG mothers are 80 times more likely to die in childbirth than mothers in Australia. With illiteracy rates amongst women also very high and a contributing factor to the Matemal Mortality rates, this research investigated whether some form of visual communication aids could be developed specifically for the needs of expectant indigenous mothers from the llahita district of PNG. This research reviewed past and present work in this field of visual communication for illiterate/semi illiterates in similar contexts of developing communities. It identified similar conclusions and accepted directions about the illustrative style of images, level of simplicity, and culturally sensitive and appropriate pictograms with local knowledge. Exploration then began by questioning the somewhat formulaic and accepted approach to pictograms, illustrations and diagrams that followed the 'simple, realistic pictures with a limited content ' approach. Feedback from testing of the initial series of communication pieces identified images that would and would not communicate effectively and therefore provided a clearer direction to develop. The research and subsequent testing to date appears to contradict many of the historical conclusions about how and what visual forms to use when communicating to this group of people. This suggests that the earlier argument of the importance placed on the level of realism, simple rather than complex images, use of black and white rather than colour and the use of culturally appropriate pictorial material may not be as relevant after all. The conclusion based on the initial feedback from the visual materials developed is that, a) the images whether illustrative or photographic should be sufficiently clear to be able to see what is being represented and b) that what is being communicated is decipherable and therefore understandable by the particular audience. Lastly, colour appears to help rather than hinder communication of the message so long as it does not interfere or complicate the delivery and interpretive process.