NIDA

Network for Information and Digital Access

Cimaza

Coordinating Organisation Cimaza, Belgium
Organisers/Type of Organisation Social enterprise, tax exempt
Initiative Type Comics, animations, comic posters
Field of Science Involved Health education, science Literacy (i.e. virology), Vaccine-hesitancy
Target Audience(s) Schools, institutes, universities, children, young people, young parents, grandparents, immigrants, refugees, science teachers, health educators, and the general public
Reach National and global

Main Objectives

  • to create scientifically accurate, attractive, engaging, fact filled comics, animations and comic posters for advocacy/information purposes, in multiple European Languages and Arabic;
  • to enhance health and science literacy and engage communities with the world of science and understand its importance, relevance and value;
  • to inform and educate the general public about the importance of immunization, vaccine safety, and the science behind virus infections and diseases;
  • to help people of all ages to make the right decisions and to take appropriate responses on their health and quality of life in normal situations and during emerging crisis.

Description of work

Cimaza presents the science of viruses and vaccines in colourful, fact-filled comics and animated cartoons. This is an engaging and creative way for children to learn all about viruses, why vaccines are important, how they work and the scientists who discovered them. With Cimaza, learning about immunology and virology is fun.

Europe has, over the last few years, experienced unprecedented levels of mass migration. This has created a significant science literacy challenge for host nations with very serious public health consequences.  Fear, limited education and language barriers amongst the newly arrived migrant/refugee populations have created immunization challenges for host countries who are finding it increasingly difficult to ensure widespread immunization. But this is not just a challenge for Europe.  Wars, civil unrest and fears about vaccine safety has created a rise in vaccine hesitancy and an increase in vaccine preventable diseases worldwide. Ignorance, misunderstanding, fear and even poverty has created an alarming increase in viral diseases.  Some are preventable via vaccination, for others there are no vaccines and the only real solution is educating populations. 

It is critical that awareness and understanding of viral diseases are developed so that populations understand how best to protect themselves.  

Comics, with their illustrated narrative, are an excellent means to achieve this. The illustrations that accompany the text help reinforce complex messages without using complex words and lengthy narrative. With comics, stories come to life. The illustrations facilitate recall of key information, enrich reading and writing and encourage active learning and knowledge acquisition.

"Cimaza” -  a word in the Adyghe language means “my moon” - with their comics, Cimaza aims to shine a light on the mysteries of science.

Results

Cimaza comics are an innovative, attractive and engaging way to reach communities and to enhance science literacy. 

The ‘Cimaza Virology Comics’ initiative produces multi-lingual comics and cartoon animations about the science behind vaccines and viral diseases, published in Comic Volume-1 aimed to be comprehensive and provide a general introduction to the viral characters. The work is aimed at all age groups and is available in many European languages and in Arabic.

In response to the emerging Zika virus outbreak in the Americas, Cimaza launched ‘Zika Virus Comics’ a free weekly online set of comics which provided up-to-the minute information of Zika virus research from reputable scientific journals. On this occasion, the comics focused on the myths surrounding the virus and aimed to appease community fears.

Cimaza has been awarded with the Science Hero Award in 2015 and won the ISLA prize in 2017. From September 2017, Cimaza comics became one of the official medical resource at the Philadelphia Children's Hospital with the materials dedicated to vaccines.

Resources used or generated

Voluntarily, Cimaza joined forces with the viroTEAM (EU Union project) to provide the online version at www.innovirology.com FREE of charge for virologists.

Schools, universities and NGOs can request hardback copies of ‘The amazing adventures of the viruses. Volume 1; Vaccines’ via Cimaza Comics.


Contact Details
Principal Contact Susan Nasif Obeid
Address 113 Groenhoef, 3720 Scherpenheuvel Zichem, Belgium
e-mail Susan Nasif Obeid
Website www.cimazacomics.com
Social Media Facebook - VirologyComics
Twitter - @virologycomics
Instagram - VirologyComics (currently inactive)
Blog - Virology Comics
YouTube
BeHance
Google+