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6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases

Gbich! AIDS is Real - Breaking the Chain of Transmission, Together (Presented by Eyoum Ngangué)

Target 6.A Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS.

These images come from the weekly publication Gbich!, published in Ivory Coast (Issue 630, 1st – 7/12/2011). For World AIDS Day, with the support of UNAIDS (the UN Programme on HIV/AIDS), cartoonists from Gbich! off ered 4 free extra pages, which in a light-hearted tone addressed a range of issues relating to MDG 6. The project represents an illustrative example of the many initiatives set up by African artists and communication professionals in support of MDG 6.

The four pages of comics, and the twelve drawings they contain, were created by Zohoré Lassane, Simplice Illary, Bléhiri Serge Alex, Yoboué Ambrose, Ben Sylla, Seray, Mozou and Raiz Kof. Each one focuses on a diff erent aspect of the fi ght against AIDS, including the importance of demystifying the disease and illustrating that people living with HIV are just the same as everybody else, the progress made in reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, the need for ongoing caution through condom use or abstinence in risky relationships, the need for open dialogue between generations, and the need for careful observation of the medical care received by those undergoing treatment.

The report seeks to portray a message which counteracts the stigmatisation of people living with HIV and the many false beliefs that persist despite years of campaigning (for example, the way in which the disease spreads and to a belief in the power of amulets as an eff ective means of protection). The use of cartoons allows the message to be conveyed to large audiences, particularly to those with low levels of literacy and those who tend not to read material relating to contemporary political and social aff airs.

Gbich! was founded in 1999 by the designers Zohoré Lassane and Illary Simplice and the journalist Bledson Bathieu, with funding provided by Adrien Bonne. Published every week in Abidjan, Gbich! represents a barometer of the social scene in Ivory Coast. The articles address topics of relevance to the daily lives of their readers, and track the adventures of its now much-loved characters, including the unlucky businessman, Cauphy Gombo (whose motto is "No pity in bizness"); the unfortunate student, Tommy Lapoasse; the elegant and lazy charmer, Joʼ Bleck; the pleasant and witty schoolboy, Papou; the muscular troublemaker, Gnamankoundji Zekinan ("He loves to fi ght"); and Police Sergeant Deutogo, who can be corrupted with just a few pennies.