What we do

We improve health outcomes by creating demand for healthy behaviours through radio and TV campaigns.

Background to our strategic focus areas

Our main issue is health. 6.3 million children worldwide die under the age of five every year. In 2013 one in 11 children in sub-Saharan Africa died before their fifth birthday. Meanwhile, maternal mortality rates remain stubbornly high in many countries. Many of the health interventions that can reduce maternal and child mortality (such as exclusive breastfeeding, treatment of diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia, and giving birth in a health facility) are highly dependent on the actions of parents and other members of the community. As such, mass media campaigns that can change behaviours can help millions of people to provide or access these interventions, thus saving many thousands of lives. The priority issues that we focus on are therefore maternal and child survival (including nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, family planning and child marriage), although we do also work on a range of health issues including neglected tropical diseases, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and road safety.

Our objective is demand creation. In recent years, the vast majority of aid money in the health sector in Africa has been spent on improving the 'supply side': doctors, nurses, drugs, hospitals and so on. All of this is absolutely necessary, but in many countries this investment has been at the expense of something equally important: creating demand for healthy behaviours. However much money is spent on health services, they will only work effectively if people use those services and behave in life-protecting ways.

Our preferred channel is mass media. We use radio and television to reach our target audience, rather than print media, social media or community-level approaches (such as street theatre). This focus allows us to reach the largest possible number of people within that target audience at the lowest cost. In some countries, we might work exclusively with radio, while in others televisions are sufficiently widespread to use them as an additional channel. The increasing popularity, availability and affordability of mobile phones also offers new opportunities for us to integrate 'top-down' mass media approaches with campaigns that are more personalised and interactive.



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Film: Why DMI?

DMI's CEO, Roy Head, describes how DMI was created to bring together the very different worlds of media and science, and how it has the potential to save over a million lives.


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