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A focus group discussion in the course of Da Pulay Poray audience research in eastern Afghanistan

Da Pulay Poray drama: a companion for people in their lives

At PACT Radio, we are often asked to prove the impact of Da Pulay Poray drama. That is why Da Pulay Poray drama regularly conducts audience research. The aim of this audience research is to ascertain both the listenership and impact of the drama. How much are people listening to the drama, and to what extent do they learn from it?

Along with this audience research, every now and then something happens which shows the impact of Da Pulay Poray drama and the place that it has made for itself in people’s hearts. The Head of Programmes and Publications at Da Pulay Poray radio, Zia Lalakhel, had such an experience the other day. He himself takes up the story:

‘In the locality where we live, one lady had given birth to a child some five days previously. Last night she fell very sick. Her father-in-law knocked on our door and asked us to accompany them to the hospital. “The case is very urgent,” he said, “and we have not been able to find a vehicle to take us.”

‘First of all, I took them to Ariana Hospital. From there, we were sent to the Public Health Hospital. It turned out that the patient had contracted tetanus. The reasons were twofold. For one, some not properly sterilized instruments must have been used during the delivery. This was compounded by the fact that the lady had not been vaccinated against tetanus in the course of her pregnancy.

‘The doctor told them off on these counts, then the lady’s sister-in-law piped up: “We have heard this very thing in the Kashmala drama,” – Kashmala being a major character in Da Pulay Poray drama. “Kashmala did not consult with a doctor, or undergo vaccinations. Her daughter died as a result.” Then, with regard to her own brother, the patient’s sister-in-law added that he was against his wife being vaccinated.

‘The doctor asked which television channel was showing the “Kashmala” drama. I told him it was a radio drama, broadcast from Arakozia FM. I mentioned my role in the production of the drama and told him about it in detail. The doctor was impressed and said that in the future he would also listen to this drama. “One should not always stick to one’s own opinions,” he told the patient’s husband and father. “Sometimes one should listen to other people.”’

Of course, we are happy that something that happened in Da Pulay Poray drama had such a big impact, that the patient’s sister-in-law knew about the importance of vaccination because of this drama. Still, the fact remains that the lady in question had not received the required vaccination in the course of her pregnancy, as a result of which she contracted tetanus – a fatal and incurable illness.

At PACT Radio, we are very conscious that there is still a lot of work to be done before people will be fully protected from such preventable diseases. We will continue our efforts, until such time that these cases become a thing of the past.

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