By Zubeida Mustafa
NANHAY DOCTOR by Iftikhar Ahmad. Illustrated by Nigar Nazar. Published by UNICEF, Pakistan. 1992.
With the changing concepts of health care — there is now greater stress on health education and preventive medicine — the need to teach people the basic principles of hygiene, nutrition and immunisation can hardly be overemphasised. In fact the sooner this process of health education and information begins, the better it is.
In this context, UNICEF’s Nanhay Doctor could not have been more timely. Written by Iftikhar Ahmed, this book is based on material UNICEF has published from time to time. So do not look for anything radically new in the content. Its messages are the standard prescriptions for health: immunise your children, use ORS in diarrhoea, observe the basic rules of hygiene, mosquitoes cause malaria hence they should be eliminated and eat nutritious food.
But how this information has been conveyed is certainly innovative First of all, the book is for children, the idea being to create health awareness at an early age. Secondly, it has a narrative style which will appeal to young readers who like stories and are put off by sermons. A green parrot talks to Razia and her brother and tells them all that has to be told.
What make Nanhay Doctor a special book are its illustrations by Nigar Nazar. Of Gogi-fame, Nigar has matured over the years, and the 32 full page colourful and charming pictures she has drawn make the book a treat for children. Her strokes are firm and the characters attractive. Small wonder, the book has been nominated for the candidacy of the 1992 Ezra Jack Keats award for excellence in children’s illustrations.
Parents and educationists would do well to give this book to children to read. It is meant to be for distribution mostly in the rural areas. But if it is to reach the target readership in the countryside the book must be translated into the regional languages
Source: Dawn 17-07-1992