What do a rich man with three daughters and a young girl on the run from assassins have in common? They are both characters in entertainment-education productions supported by the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI).
As part of a comprehensive program to increase contraceptive prevalence rate in four Nigerian cities, these two productions (one on television and one on radio) illustrate NURHI’s focus on using communication and entertainment to engage people in family planning.
The use of entertainment goes beyond demand generation, though. A distance education program for clinicians who provide family planning services is delivered via entertaining videos on smartphones, using humor to gently demonstrate and debunk biases that prevent clinicians from best serving their clients.
These interventions – and many more, such as ensuring that contraceptive commodities are in-stock, training providers in clinical service provision, taking clinical services to underserved slums, television and radio campaigns, and reaching communities with social mobilization – are having impact.
After less than two years of implementation, a midterm survey showed increases in CPR in NURHI cities increased between 2.3 percentage points to 15.5 percentage points. NURHI ends in 2015, with endline survey results anticipated in the new year that will show exactly how much contraceptive use has risen in these cities.
NURHI is a six-year, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded project that aims to increase CPR 20 percentage points in four Nigerian cities. The project is led by Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs in partnership with the Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) and the Center for Communication Programs Nigeria (CCPN).
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- Joint advocacy efforts resulted in Federal Ministry of Health’s national policy announcement on availability of free contraceptive commodities in all States. Commodities continue to be available free of charge at all public health facilities, including primary healthcare centers.
- NURHI engages prominent religious and traditional leaders who in turn have publicly endorsed family planning/child spacing, encouraging Nigerian men and women to find a method that will help them care for their desired family size and protect each mother’s health.
- ‘Know, Talk, Go’ mass media campaign encourages Nigerians to ‘Know” about family planning, ‘Talk’ to their partner about family planning, and ‘Go’ for services. This multi-channel campaign includes a radio drama for youth, television and radio spots, and posters, billboards, and promotional items for community members.
- A novel public-private partnership, the Family Planning Providers Network (FPPN), was developed as an innovative approach to connect all family planning providers in Nigeria – clinical and non-clinical as well as public and private. A service referral system amongst providers ensures that clients receive the contraceptive method that best fits their needs and lifestyle. Youth urban social mobilizers also provide community-level referrals, assessing women’s unmet need for quality family planning services and referring them to an FPPN provider.
- Service delivery activities, including intensive provider trainings and 72-hour clinic makeovers, are conducted to improve the quality of family planning service provision and address barriers to continued use of modern family planning methods. Integration efforts are also underway to offer family planning services with the provision of maternal and newborn health, HIV and AIDS counseling and post-partum care programs.