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Entertainment that Helps to Save Lives in Brazil

May 13, 2015

RIO DE JANEIRO – It began with a simple chest pain. Later on, “Cadu” was not able to perform small gestures like climbing two or three steps or play beach soccer with his son. It could have been the symptoms of low blood pressure, but it was not. After a couple exams, Cadu found out he had a chronic disease that increases the size of the heart and needed a transplant.

It could have happened to you or me. However, it is fiction. What is described above is part of the drama interpreted by Brazilian actor Reynaldo Gianecchini on “Em Família,” a Brazilian soap opera aired last year on the prime time schedule of Globo TV, the most popular television network in Brazil.

This was one of 940 scenes that addressed social issues on soap operas in Brazil last year, according to the 2014 annual report of Population Media Center’s longtime partner and collaborator, Comunicarte, a social marketing organization out of Rio de Janeiro.

“We were thrilled to read the results in Comunicarte’s 2014 annual report,” says Bill Ryerson, President and Founder of Population Media Center. “We need more media outlets around the world promoting positive social behaviors and providing education. Comunicarte’s work is very important. They help make sure that pro-social content is broadcast and that it’s effective.”

Comunicarte works in partnership with Globo TV to monitor the presence of socially responsible themes on their soap operas. The content analysis conducted by Comunicarte continues to stress the importance and the effectiveness of education through entertainment. “Em Família” went on to show Cadu’s situation, ranging from the difficulty of finding an organ donor to the emotional relationship with the donor´s family.

Cadu´s story in “Em Família” changed the reality in Brazil. The story made ​​it clear that every minute for a person in need of an organ is critical and that the decision to be a donor can save many lives. After the soap opera, the numbers of both organ donors and transplants had increased.


Population Media Center is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 16 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world.