The Lancet: Can mass media interventions reduce child mortality?

In February 2015 we highlighted a Lancet paper by HIFA member Will Snell and colleagues: ‘Can mass media interventions reduce child mortality?’ The midline results of this randomised controlled trial (the first of its kind) were highly positive. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is currently doing an endline survey and the final results will be available in early 2016.

Meanwhile, the research group reports two further, related developments – I have extracted text below. The full text is available here:

It is especially encouraging to see health education video for citizens on mobile phones, taking off in Africa as it is already doing in India (thanks to Nand Wadhwani and HealthPhone).

Child survival national campaign (2015-)

In 2014 we secured funding from four organisations (SPRING, Alive & Thrive, Comic Relief and the Vitol Foundation) to scale up our child health campaign from the seven community radio stations covered by the RCT to 28 community radio stations across Burkina Faso (see map below), giving us full national coverage (reaching 14.9m people, or 78% of the population). We began broadcasting radio spots nationwide in May 2015.

‘Viral videos’ mHealth pilot (2014-15)

Since late 2014 we have been running a pilot project in south-western Burkina Faso: ‘viral videos’. Funded by a Grand Challenges Exploration grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the project promotes maternal and child health using short entertaining films that can be watched on mobile phones.

People in Burkina Faso are increasingly watching and sharing short videos on their mobile phones. The project taps into this trend by creating ‘viral videos’ in local languages that promote positive maternal and child health behaviours. Each of the films delivers a specific message, such as the benefits of hand washing, and the promotion of treatment-seeking for diseases such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea.

We are currently analysing the initial evaluation results from this pilot and will publish more information soon.

Let’s build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare knowledge – Join HIFA:  


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