Over the last decade, Bangladesh has made significant progress to improve maternal health and reduce child and infant deaths. To maximize these gains in health indicators, work must continue in critical areas, such as increasing acceptance of key health behaviors and addressing gaps in delivering health services.
The Ujjiban project uses social and behavior change communication to generate demand for and increase the use of quality health services relating to maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health; family planning; nutrition and tuberculosis services. The project will also work to strengthen the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s ability to plan, develop, implement and evaluate their own social and behavior change programs throughout the country.
Our vision is one of a nation of engaged people who are informed, inspired and equipped to improve health in their households, communities and country.
A major component of the new program will be the use of entertainment education, with a plan to combine original content for TV, radio, mobile phones, print and social media to create a multi-platform experience. TV programming will feature a set of characters whose lives reflect the trials and tribulations of the audience. Audiences will see these characters everywhere they look: on outdoor advertising, in clinic posters, in digital media, in the tools that health workers use in the community, on social media and more. As audiences grow more familiar with the characters and their lives, the hope is that they will become more receptive to changing their own health behaviors. This approach allows Uijiban to introduce multiple health messages and behaviors—in a way that complements the way families deal with health issues from a holistic point of view.
The radio programming will offer the opportunity for young people to get information and seek advice on various issues pertaining to their lives through skits, sharing stories and personal experiences, and chances to call-in and have their voices heard and their questions answered. Interpersonal communication, community mobilization and other efforts will complement the mass media efforts and link people to local health facilities. Much of Ujjiban’s programming will have natural feedback mechanisms such as social media comments and radio call-in responses that will help monitor the messages to ensure that they are being understood.
Throughout the project, research will play a critical role, not only in developing the campaign materials, but also in monitoring and evaluating the project’s impact on health behaviors.