We utilize a broad mix of communication activities to increase demand among potential family planning clients and providers.
On the provider side, the objective is to motivate them to offer a broad method mix of contraceptive methods, including long-term methods that require additional training, time and equipment. We use medical detailers to reach pharmacists and providers and convene workshops and trainings to educate providers.
On the client side, communication activities include distributing educational materials about the benefits of each method and dispelling myths and misconceptions. Communication channels range from interpersonal communication agents and direct marketing events, to radio and TV campaigns.
Informed demand for health products and services is generated through a number of communication channels. Interpersonal communications (IPC) is considered the most influential channel when persuading someone to accept a new idea or behavior, though it can also be the most difficult channel to implement in a consistently successful manner.
Several elements are essential to design and implement a successful IPC program:
- A strong quality assurance component for regular monitoring, supervision and evaluation is the only way to understand what is working well and what needs adjustment.
- Mass media, such as TV and radio, is essential for reaching the large numbers of people needed to achieve scale. With high production values, it can leverage emotional triggers that motivate positive behavior change. PSI network members and technical teams have won many awards around the globe for effective design and implementation of mass media campaigns.
- In-store or in-clinic media, such as posters or ceiling hangers, can “close the sale” by removing the final barriers to action. They target the critical last steps of any person’s path-to-purchase and are often an under-utilized channel in many public health campaigns. We use the same techniques and approaches for designing in-store or in-clinic media that any private sector marketer does.
Total Market Approach
We apply a total market approach (TMA) to our work in all health areas, including family planning. For each country and health sector, we analyze and evaluate the market, defining where we can best add value through direct implementation or technical assistance.
The goal is to ensure that those in need are reached with the appropriate products and services at prices they can afford, while carving out a space for commercial providers where they can be successful. For example, those in the poorest communities receive free products, while those with slightly greater resources benefit from partially subsidized products, and those with a greater ability to pay purchase their products from the commercial sector. Our vision is for greater efficiency in the market and increased sustainability through better targeting of public and social sector subsidies.
Two key approaches to TMA are social marketing and social franchising. We use social marketing and social franchising to increase use of modern contraceptives, promote safe motherhood interventions, and reduce unsafe abortions.
Gender Equity and Constructive Male Involvement
Many women wish to use contraception but do not do so because they think their partner would object. Yet when couples talk about contraception, they are more likely to use it. We aim to engage men and women alike in joint decision-making about reproductive health and childbearing. Our social marketing of family planning often includes messages and communication channels designed to reach men and couples. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, male community health workers seek out men where they work and gather to discuss family planning options and dispel myths and misconceptions. In Haiti, peer educators recruit participants who are all from their same neighborhoods.
Making a Difference
In her sixties now, Salma has seen her sons marry women who remind her of when she was once a young bride. They face the same challenges – multiple childbirths and the struggles of raising large families.
In Salma’s community, mothers-in-law play an important role in making decisions about their children’s families. Knowing her involvement was key, Salma has encouraged her sons and daughters-in-law to explore different contraceptive methods. Read her story to see how Salma is changing the lives of her daughters-in-law.