Designing a Behavior Change Communication Strategy to Improve Family Health Outcomes in Rural Uttar Pradesh
The Council assisted the Government of India in collecting evidence on the factors influencing behavior change in order to recommend an effective strategy that could contribute to improved reproductive, maternal, and child health outcomes in Uttar Pradesh and other northern states in India.
Systematic reviews of family health interventions in India have documented that simple home- and community-based interventions implemented on a large scale can considerably reduce the burden of maternal, newborn and child mortality and morbidity, and undernutrition.
Communication strategies play a powerful role in addressing many of the social and structural barriers to the adoption of preventive practices related to family health and in shaping demand for the adoption of these health practices. Social norms and practices can be changed through culturally appropriate messages delivered through the mass media. In addition, messages on healthy practices can be communicated through frontline workers who interact with target populations at the family and community levels.
The Government of India has articulated the importance of a comprehensive and coordinated behavior change communication (BCC) plan to promote healthy practices and to equip health service providers with communication skills to facilitate behavior change among clients. Access to BCC in family health is far from universal, however. In Uttar Pradesh in 2005–06 as many as 40 percent of women had not heard or seen any family planning message on the mass media, and only 20 percent of women had contact with a frontline health worker. Communication planning is required to reach appropriate behavioral targets with acceptable messages at the right time.
The Population Council and its consortium members are assisting the Government of India in collecting evidence needed to identify the factors that influence behavior change. The Council carried out a study that attempted to develop an evidence-based comprehensive BCC strategy to shape demand and practices that could contribute to improved reproductive, maternal, and child health outcomes in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and other northern states in India.
The study identified and sought to understand the barriers and facilitating factors for eight target behaviors in rural Uttar Pradesh through qualitative and quantitative research. From this research, the Council proposed a BCC plan that incorporates an integrated strategy to bring together information related to reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health and nutrition. The plan re-examines currently used delivery mechanisms and will make use of new technologies for communicating messages to key targets. The proposed BCC plan identifies a set of measurable outcome indicators that help to assess behavior change rather than knowledge gain.
Shaping Demand and Practices to Improve Family Health Outcomes: Designing a Behavior Change Communication Strategy in India, Volume 1: Uttar Pradesh (HTML)
Publication date: 2012
Shaping Demand and Practices to Improve Family Health Outcomes: Designing a Behavior Change Communication Strategy in India, Volume 2: Bihar (HTML)
Publication date: 2012
Increasing complete immunization in rural Uttar Pradesh: Implications for behavior change communication (PDF)
Shaping Demand and Practices to Improve Family Health Outcomes in Northern India Policy Brief (no. 8)
Publication date: 2010
Location: India (Uttar Pradesh)
Duration: 11/2008 - 3/2011
Population Council researchers:
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation