By Abi Begho, Lake Health and Wellbeing
Meet the Willbuts, a short animation depicting how sugar-sweetened beverages and an unhealthy diet impact a typical Caribbean family, has been shortlisted for the World Health Organization (WHO) Health for All Film Festival. The short animation was produced by Global Health Advocacy Incubator’s Healthy Food Policy Advocacy Fund partner Lake Health and Wellbeing in St. Kitts and Nevis to raise awareness about the dangers of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages.
The WHO Health for All Film Festival is held annually to demonstrate how creative media is being mobilized for health promotion and education. The festival invites submissions from patients, health workers, health activists, NGOs, public institutions and professional filmmakers of short films on a wide range of health-related topics, including non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mental health, disability, and communicable diseases as well as environmental and social determinants of health, such as gender-based violence, road safety and pollution.
The animation was shortlisted under the very short film category for conveying messages about NCDs and the need for families to improve their diets for better health outcomes. Lake Health and Wellbeing’s submission was recognised out of over 1000 submissions from 110 countries – a major achievement that places St. Kitts and Nevis on the global stage for health promotion and education.
The winners will be announced in May; in the meantime, WHO is encouraging the public to get involved by selecting a film that they would like to champion and then commenting about its story or topic before May 10, 2022. Comments can be posted on social media using the hashtag #Film4Health or through the WHO’s YouTube playlists available from the festival’s website. Some comments from the public will be featured during the Health for All Film Festival’s virtual awards ceremony in mid-May.
Meet the Willbuts was produced as part of Lake Health and Wellbeing’s “You’re Sweet Enough” campaign which aims to tackle the high rate of non-communicable diseases locally and regionally by encouraging the public to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Specifically, the campaign focuses on encouraging the public to reduce their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and consume water instead.
Lake Health and Wellbeing’s Advocacy and Research Officer Isalean Phillip noted how “happy we are to see how receptive people have been to Meet the Willbuts, locally and internationally, because it helps to spread more awareness about SSB consumption and NCDs in the Caribbean. Through our You’re Sweet Enough campaign we’ve tried to educate the public using engaging animations that are not only fun to watch but also leave a lasting impression, so it’s a great accomplishment for us to be shortlisted in the WHO Film Festival competition as a small NGO based in St. Kitts and Nevis. With this recognition, we are motivated to continue our work advocating for evidence-based health policies that help to reduce NCDs and improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.”
Dr. Fanta Waterman, a board member of Lake Health and Wellbeing, said: “With campaigns like You’re Sweet Enough, Lake Health and Wellbeing continuously demonstrates its commitment to making health literacy accessible, actionable and fun for all. This will only help to improve the health outcomes of people living in this region – and now, globally! I am so proud to be affiliated with this organiztion and am glad many others will get to see this animation about how to maintain one’s health.”
“We’re extremely delighted that one of our civil society members has been shortlisted for the WHO Health for All Film Festival. This highlights that civil society can occupy the tech-innovation space to reach the public with important public health messages. This is a major achievement for the Caribbean and showcases the talent and creativity that exists in our region,” said Maisha Hutton, the Healthy Caribbean Coalition’s Executive Director.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Ministry of Health, one of Lake Health and Wellbeing’s main project partners, said: “The Ministry of Health is grateful for the partnership cultivated with Lake Health and Wellbeing as one of the leading organisations dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of our local, regional and now global community. The You’re Sweet Enough campaign has generated conversations regarding healthy drinking and the importance of consuming adequate water. As a civil society organisation, their aim is to contribute to the improvement of public health. Therefore, their positive influence is having a profound impact on the healthy decisions made by members of our society.”
To find more information about the You’re Sweet Enough campaign, you can visit the campaign website at www.youaresweetenough.com.