Date of Publication: June 28, 2021

Combating Rumors About Ebola: SMS Done Right

During the Ebola outbreak in Liberia in 2015, the international community quickly created a series of wide-scale social behavior change communication campaigns, a typical approach in humanitarian aid. This resulted in campaigns that bombarded local populations with massive but poorly coordinated blasts of messaging on billboards, in print, on radio and TV, through health outreach workers and community organizations, via SMS and call-in hotlines.

Internews, together with support from the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs/ Health Communication Capacity Collaborative, developed a simple but critical new tool — DeySay SMS (“Dey Say” refers to how people speak about rumors in Liberian English), which detected and managed rumors in as close to real-time as possible.

DeySay began with an SMS short code, provided by UNICEF free of charge to hundreds of health workers, NGOs and volunteers on the ground throughout Liberia. When anyone connected to the system becomes aware of a rumor, they texted it via the short code to a central coordination hub.

Once the information was collected, it was analyzed for trends and disseminated to local media partners in the field with details about the rumor so that they could work to stop its spread. When the system was fully functional, aid workers and social mobilizers in the relevant regions were put on alert so they could go door-to-door to calm anxieties and correct misinformation.

In conjunction with the rapid response system, DeySay also produced a weekly newsletter for local media throughout the country and partners on the ground. The newsletter highlighted trends in rumors and their geographic locations, and helped identify the most critical rumors at any given time. The newsletter also offered insights for local media into information gaps and challenges around Ebola and health reporting.

Source: Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs, InterNews

Date of Publication: June 16, 2021

Messages for Interactive Voice Response, Nigeria

Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria managers sent reminder messages to people who received referrals for health services (e.g., antenatal care, immunization, malaria testing).

A community volunteer issues referrals during a household visit or community event and asks the recipient if they are willing to opt in to the referral reminders and social and behavior change (SBC) messages. The person will then receive a recorded call asking if they have gone to the facility for their referral. The person responds by pressing a number on their telephone keypad. The person also receives recorded SBC messages on their phone. Users are always given the opportunity to opt out of receiving additional messages.

These are the finalized messages, which were pretested and revised, and the referral reminders.

Source: Breakthrough ACTION/Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs

Date of Publication: July 21, 2020

Clean Hands Count Campaign

These materials were created by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to promote handwashing.

The campaign aims to:

  • Improve healthcare provider adherence to CDC hand hygiene recommendations
  • Address the myths and misperceptions about hand hygiene
  • Empower patients to play a role in their care by asking or reminding healthcare providers to clean their hands

Included in the campaign are videos, posters, factsheets and brochures. There are also infographics, a digital press kit, a press release, and web buttons.

Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Date of Publication: March 25, 2019

Health Phone [Videos, Website]

HealthPhone™ is a personal video reference library and guide to better health and nutrition practices, for families and communities, including the illiterate, in their language, distributed on mobile phones.

HealthPhone™ provides families with their own personal reference library and guide to better health practices. Available in real time, right to those who need it, when they need it and when a health problem is about to strike, where they are, and as they are.

There is no signal or connection required. HealthPhone’sover 1,400 health and nutrition videos are available on the following topics:

  • Timing of Pregnancy
  • Births
  • Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health
  • Child Development and Early Learning
  • Breastfeeding
  • Nutrition and Growth, Immunization
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughs, Colds and More Serious Illnesses
  • Hygiene
  • Malaria
  • HIV
  • Child Protection
  • Injury Prevention
  • Emergencies: preparedness and response

This knowledge, in 61 languages, is pre-loaded on microSD chips for popular low-cost models of mobile phones – no signal is required, nor cost to download videos and other media. Users choose what they want to watch and listen to and when, wherever they happen to be.

Source: HealthPhone

Date of Publication: March 25, 2019