Changing behaviours. Saving lives.
RESULTS PUBLISHED FROM FIRST SCIENTIFIC TRIAL TO SHOW MASS MEDIA CAN CHANGE BEHAVIOURS
Development Media International runs evidence-based radio, TV and mobile
campaigns to change behaviours and save
lives in developing countries.
The results of our randomised controlled trial explained
About the campaign
The campaign was broadcast on seven radio stations (whose reach is shown in blue) between 2012 and 2015. Seven other radio station areas (shown in red) acted as control zones. The campaign used DMI’s ‘Saturation+’ methodology, broadcasting one-minute radio spots 10 times a day, 365 days a year. It promoted health-seeking behaviours, with a particular focus on treatment seeking for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea.
The impact of the campaign
The trial was evaluated by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), led by Prof. Simon Cousens.
The campaign encouraged treatment-seeking for three of the biggest killers of children under 5: malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea. The evaluation measured the number of parents taking their children to health facilities and diagnosed by health workers. Year 1 saw the following increases in intervention zones compared to controls:
56% increase in malaria consultations (p<0.001)
39% increase in pneumonia consultations (p<0.001)
73% increase in diarrhoea consultations (p<0.001)
While the RCT did not have enough statistical power to detect a mortality reduction directly, the Lives Saved Tool (LiST) was used to calculate the impact of these behaviour changes on mortality. It showed:
9.7% reduction in mortality
3,000 lives saved
Data from over 600,000 consultations over three years was used in the evaluation.
There was no increase in consultations for any health issues (eg coughs and colds) for which there was no campaigning.
The cost-effectiveness of the campaign
Health economists use “DALYs” to compare the costs of all health interventions, equivalent to the cost of adding one year of healthy life. The authoritative source for cost-effectiveness comparisons, Disease Control Priorities, 3rd Edition, ranks these costs in order of magnitude, ranging from $2,900 down to $5 for child health. The costs of the DMI media campaign, if carried out at national scale in 5 African countries in 2018-20, would range from:
$7 to $27 per DALY
This would rank among the most cost-effective ways of saving a child’s life available.
Mariéta is just one of thousands of children whose lives were saved as a result of DMI's campaign. Watch her story here: