WATCH | These animated films are making healthcare education accessible to South Africans

In the face of language barriers, poor healthcare and illiteracy, South Africans are at risk of not accessing necessary medical information.

While diagnosis is an essential part of the treatment process, there is more to understand about a condition once it has been given a name.

Dr Tshepo P. Maaka and her daughter, animator Kabelo Maaka, recognised the need to provide clarity for people.

“As doctors, we don’t have time to explain things to patients when a consultation is 15 minutes,” Dr Maaka says. “But if you can educate people on healthcare topics they can take care of themselves.”

Together, they have developed a groundbreaking approach to informing South Africans – medical animation.

In 2017, the mother-daughter duo founded Cabblow Studios. Through animated films, they are creating accessible content relating to medical issues.

South Africa’s healthcare industry is under severe pressure, particularly in underprivileged areas, leaving people without the tools to look after their health.

“Animation has the power to change mindsets when it comes to complex medical topics,” Dr Maaka says.

Their first animation, 3 Teaspoons of Sugar, unpacks the experience of living with diabetes through different characters.

Brought to you by Beautiful News

The film competed at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in 2020, a prestigious competition for aspiring filmmakers.

They also created a bonus film focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on diabetes and comorbidities.

Dr Maaka and Kabelo are bridging the gap in healthcare in South Africa, and their work has reached people as far as Lebanon and Sierra Leone.

It is essential to provide widespread education around wellbeing, and these animations have the potential to save lives.

“Working with Kabelo has deepened that desire to educate and keep the public healthy,” Dr Maaka says. “I think that is my calling.”