Afghanistan gets talking books

In one of his last duties before leaving the administration, Health and Human Services Department Secretary Tommy Thompson announced the delivery of 2,000 interactive health education books for women in Afghanistan.

The "talking books," designed by LeapFrog Enterprises, use the same LeapPad learning technology as the company's storybooks for children. Thompson announced the program in August. It is aimed primarily at the 80 percent of Afghani women who cannot read or write, and the books cover more than 19 subjects, including diet, childhood immunization, pregnancy, breastfeeding, sanitation and water boiling, treating injuries and burns, and preventing disease.

The books are available in both of Afghanistan's major languages, Dari and Pashto. They are the first product that LeapFrog developed for adults, according to the company.

This first set of interactive books will go to households and primary health care centers. HHS will be evaluating usability and changes in behavior, and will use that information to determine how best to distribute the other 20,000 books in the program, according to the department.

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