There are many forms of theatres for delivering health messages. Street theatre, folk theatre forum theatres etc. are being used in many countries. In the Indian sub-continent Kalajatha is a very lively and highly powerful traditional art of dance and drama (folk theatre) which delivers key messages of the life processes in local dialects and cultural settings. This is slightly different from street theatre. Street theatre is utilized for mobilizing people to participate in controlling tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, polio, diarrhoeal diseases and also malaria [13–16]. Puppet shows and street theatre is being used extensively in HIV/AIDS control programme [17, 18]. In Africa and in North America, in both rural and urban settings, forum theatre is an effective means of health promotion. Projects on women's health, care for patients with mental disorders, and AIDS prevention show the usefulness of this medium for community action programmes . Theatre was used for mobilizing and sensitizing the community for tsetse control in Uganda . In a cross-sectional study, an impact of IEC campaign for tuberculosis and health seeking behaviour was assessed in Delhi and was used as programme performance indicator .
Attempts were made to explore this strong medium for bio-environmental control of malaria under the primary health care system. The performances were very lively and motivating and many spectators even offered to act along with the actors. In some events many had reacted and also agitated for not providing the proper treatment and correct information to the community earlier. The biggest information delivered to the community was that Anopheles and Aedes mosquitoes breed in clear water as against the general belief of polluted water where Culex mosquitoes generally breed. Use of biocontrol agents, source reduction of opportunistic breeding of vector mosquitoes, treatment, health education, environmental management, maintenance of cleanliness and personal hygiene are important components of bio-environmental control strategy. This method is very effective in Indian situations . Besides this, various other methods of malaria control including insecticide treated nets were also incorporated in the messages, but the focus was on larvivorous fishes since they are, at the moment, the main intervention in malaria control in the area.
The present study set an example of inter-sectoral co-operation between various heterogeneous groups. Apart from the impact, the process was itself a model of governmental and non-governmental partnership which was timely especially when the government is seeking examples of public-private partnership in health education activities. The education department deputed five teachers while the Child and Women's Welfare Department deputed ten Anganwadi (female resident staff) workers for one month. Fifteen members from the local community, with various occupational backgrounds ranging from carpenter to barber, and having artistic acting and singing talent came together as a team. The Government of Karnataka through the Department of health partially funded the programme. Politicians and ministers played their role by accepting the invitation to inaugurate the programme thereby providing wider visibility to the health education programme. Religious leaders contributed by offering free accommodation and hospitality for the period of one month as a token of solidarity in the fight against malaria. The press and radio helped in wider dissemination of health education messages and analyzing the malaria situation of the district. Female artists were involved in the team, which resulted in good responses from the women community. Currently, all the developmental programmes including health are directly executed by the Panchayat Raj Institution. The local Gram Panchayat members provided maximum support to this programme. Subsequently these members played a major role in disseminating the messages and generated awareness in the entire area. In the following year (2002), the community co-operated actively in a WHO funded project in releasing larvivorous fish for malaria control. The mid-term report revealed that in Chikkanayakanahalli taluka malaria cases have declined from 10,136 in 2001 to 66 (up to September 2006) .
The present study was aimed to sensitize and mobilize and its impact on the community using folk theatre to control malaria especially on bio-environmental measures for which no comparable baseline data were available. The data between the exposed and non-exposed respondents indicated that there was no perceived information on the present campaign. In rural areas many festivals and socio-cultural programmes are performed that may have some counter effects on such events. Such issues were taken into consideration while organizing the Kalajatha events.