Our Impact

Every day in so many ways, the work of the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs makes a difference in the lives of people around the world.

Our mission: to inspire and enable people to make healthy choices for themselves and their families, from using condoms to sleeping under bed nets to visiting a doctor when they are sick. Since our founding more than three decades ago, our programs have reached billions of people from the cities of Nigeria to the most rural outpost in Nepal.

Explore some of our recent impact stories below.

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bed nets

Helped distribute 47 million insecticide-treated bed nets over five years in three countries

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billion

Reached 1 billion people across Africa and Asia with our COVID-prevention messages

With Amina, I have only visited the hospital once for fever and this is because I decided to exclusively breastfeed her.

Khadija

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million

Following advocacy efforts by the MyChoice project in Indonesia, provincial and district governments allocated roughly $3.57 million for family planning

Compared to talking to doctors, they can share everything with us openly. It’s easy for us to talk to them.

Pratima

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clinics

Conducted 72-hour makeovers in 500 family planning clinics across Nigeria, creating clean, fully stocked facilities, training opportunities for staff – and a much-improved environment for patients

Before I started taking the [HIV] medication, I was getting sick frequently and as such, I missed school a lot. I couldn’t even play with my friends and this made me sad, but now because of my new medication, I play a lot.

Sada Kasimu

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community leaders

Trained more than 6,000 community leaders in Eswatini – including chiefs and their wives – on issues related to HIV and how to create safe spaces for girls and young women

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countries

For over 30 years, our Leadership in Strategic Communication Workshop has trained more than 5,000 people from 100 countries using an integrated learning approach to design and implement strategic communication programs

They call me the family planning pastor because of my passion for anything that has to do with family planning and they see me as a leading voice championing the cause of family planning in Oyo State.

Pastor David Adeleke

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children

Our One Community project in Malawi provided services and support to more than 100,000 orphans and other vulnerable children and their caregivers through its network of more than 2,000 community health workers

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languages

Distributed 625,000 copies of our Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers, also available online in 13 languages, with four additional translations underway

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referral increase

Increased number of referrals with long-term coughing – a symptom of tuberculosis – by 51% for treatment at health facilities in four Nigerian districts

The [interpersonal communication] skills training has changed my professional as well as personal communication.

Dr. Shazia Sheikh

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sleep-related infant death decrease

Decreased sleep-related infant deaths in Baltimore City by 71% through the institutionalization of safe sleep education — including a series of powerful videos featuring Baltimore families — in birthing hospitals and other systems supporting pregnant women

Khadija Hassan

"With Aimana, I have only visited the hospital once for fever and this is because I decided to exclusively breastfeed her."

Khadija Hassan is a mother of six and she can tell you from experience that the most difficult age for her has been the first six months.

With her first five children, Khadija typically visited the hospital once a week in those early months to receive treatment for frequent childhood illnesses, visits that cost her nearly $2USD apiece. That’s a lot of money for Khadija, whose only source of income in rural northern Nigeria is grinding pepper for her neighbors. And her husband isn’t much help. He is a carpenter with three other wives and 20 children.

But with her most recent child, seven-month-old Aimana, Khadija was convinced to exclusively breastfeed. And the results were startling.

“With Aimana, I have only visited the hospital once for fever and this is because I decided to exclusively breastfeed her,” Khadija says.

Where Kadija lives, women don’t often practice

important maternal and child health care behaviors such as exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. The predominant belief within this and many communities in northern Nigeria is that a newborn cannot survive only on breastmilk.

The Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs’ Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria project – funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – is working with local communities and government stakeholders in northern Nigeria to improve the health behaviors of women and children. This includes exclusive breastfeeding, which a pregnant Kadija learned more about through a women’s empowerment group set up by Breakthrough ACTION.

With exclusive breastfeeding, Kadija says, her newborn did not get sick as often as her older children had and appeared healthier and stronger. Based on this success, others in Khadija’s empowerment group have also adopted exclusive breastfeeding.

Pratima Chaudhary

"Compared to talking to doctors, they can share everything with us openly. It’s easy for us to talk to them."

“These days, there’s no reason to feel embarrassed about family planning,” says Pratima Chaudhary, a peer facilitator in Nepal with the Health Community Capacity Collaborative (HC3), a Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs project. “Many people know about family planning and spacing their children. Most of them have heard about it from radio and TV. And they hear about specific family planning issues through peer facilitators like me.”

Pratima makes her daily rounds visiting households in her neighborhood of Chitwan Tharu, which sits along the Indian border. She rides her purple bicycle along the dusty roads, often introduced to young couples by community volunteers. Because of her HC3 training, Pratima is able to explain the benefits of family planning with these couples, dispelling harmful myths, discussing contraception options and even connecting them with services. And since she is a member of the community and a mother herself, Pratima says people really speak freely to her. “Compared to talking to doctors, they can share everything with us openly,” she says. “It’s easy for us to talk to them.”

At one stop, Pratima meets Tara and Kesha Dhamala, a young couple with one daughter and another child on the way soon. They say they are done having children. “Two is enough,” Tara says. The couple has never used contraception, so Pratima walks them through their options, arming them with the information they will need when they visit the village’s health clinic.

“I wish people would only have the number of children they can take care of and educate,” Pratima says, heartened by the example of the Dhamalas. “When that happens, our society can develop.”

Sada Kasimu

"Before I started taking the medication, I was getting sick frequently and as such, I missed school a lot. I couldn’t even play with my friends and this made me sad, but now because of my new medication, I play a lot."

Sada Kasimu was 11 years old in March 2017 when he learned he was infected with HIV. The mobile health clinic that shared his results failed to properly counsel the boy from southern Malawi, throwing him into a tailspin.

“Sada did not take this information well. He resorted to violence,” says his grandmother Estele Namphinda. “He beat me on the way home and when we arrived, he refused to enter the hut saying he would rather sleep outside because he had nothing to fear for he was already dead. I tried to comfort him with food but he threw it away.”

Days turned to months, and Sada’s anger did not subside. He slept in the house, but refused to go to the health facility where he had been referred to begin antiretroviral therapy. Then, in September 2017, Sada started to get sick.

Affack Kasenda from the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs’ One Community project went to see Sada. Kasenda was unable to get Sada to listen, so called in his supervisor to help. After weeks of conversations, the men were finally able to convince Sada to start taking his medicine. These days, Kasenda picks up Sada on his bicycle and takes him to the health facility for regular checkups and for his medication.

“Sada is now a healthy boy,” says his grandmother. “He can now do everything a boy of his age is capable of doing. He no longer gives me problems when it is time to take his medication. In fact, I do not even remind him.”

Sada has even become an advocate among his peers living with HIV, working to help them understands the live-saving benefits of antiretroviral therapy.

Says Sada: “Before I started taking the medication, I was getting sick frequently and as such, I missed school a lot. I couldn’t even play with my friends and this made me sad, but now because of my new medication, I play a lot.”

Pastor David Adeleke

"They call me the family planning pastor because of my passion for anything that has to do with family planning and they see me as a leading voice championing the cause of family planning in Oyo State."

Pastor David Adeleke was at a crossroads. In his rural community in Nigeria’s Oyo State, a woman and her unborn child had died during delivery because there was no nearby health center. To make matters worse, the woman had another baby who was just a year old, her second child coming too soon after her first.

But family planning had long been viewed as “a license for promiscuity,” he says. As a Christian clergyman, he knew that while some parts of the Bible spoke of being fruitful and multiplying, religion and family planning could find common ground.

So the timing was perfect when, in 2014, representatives from CCP’s Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) came to see Adeleke. They would give him the skills to understand how to reconcile family planning and religion, use data to make the case, provide information on modern contraception and empower women to “choose the number of children they would have.”

“I see family planning as insurance of the complete family’s wellbeing, especially mothers who go through the risk of pregnancy for nine months or more, and the risky rigor of labor,” Adeleke says.

He was also trained alongside other Christian and Muslim faith leaders to give sermons on family planning and he has traveled to churches and mosques around Oyo to talk about family planning. He ended up writing a self-published book on reproductive health from a Christian perspective (printing 40,000 copies which he distributes for free!)

“They call me the family planning pastor because of my passion for anything that has to do with family planning and they see me as a leading voice championing the cause of family planning in Oyo State,” he says.

“I want to say thanks for NURHI because [maternal mortality] has been reduced drastically. It is my opinion that family planning has come to stay forever. I believe that we will have no problem because on a daily basis we are creating transformational leaders for sustainable family planning messaging within our communities.”

Dr. Shazia Sheikh

"The [interpersonal communication] skills training has changed my professional as well as personal communication."

For more than a decade, Dr. Shazia Sheikh has served the rural areas of the Matiari district in southern Pakistan. Despite her hard work, maternal and child health outcomes remained poor, a source of frustration for the doctor.

Unsatisfied with the situation, Dr. Shazia set out to improve her skills. She was one of roughly 7,800 providers in Pakistan who were trained in interpersonal communication skills by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs-led Health Communication Component. The training tackled communication between providers and their patients, a process of exchanging information, feelings and meaning through verbal and non-verbal messages. Poor communication between providers and patients can be a contributing factor to negative health outcomes.

Dr Shazia’s lessons focused on absorbing the three steps of HCC’s interpersonal communication (IPC) toolkit: listening to the client, joint problem-solving with the client and encouraging the client to take appropriate action to improve her health.

Within a few days of incorporating these techniques in her clinical practice, she noticed a change in the level of trust and gratitude in her patients. Now, women of the community view her consultation as an outlet where they can share their concerns and receive positive responses.

“The IPC skills training has changed my professional as well as personal communication,” she says. “Now, my patients are satisfied more than ever and that gives me a sense of being on the right track to bring a positive change in the lives of women and children I serve and I see that eventually it will bring a change in the health indicators of the province.”

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