SAHAN was the demand creation component of FCDO’s Somali Health and Nutrition Programme (SHINE). SAHAN was the first large-scale, dedicated demand-creation for health programme in Somalia. Unlike typical development projects with pre-determined activities and interventions, this programme aimed to first gain a deeper understanding of the primary target audience and the influential human actors surrounding her. The overarching programme approach used an evidence-based, participatory design to better understand the persistent barriers to uptake of health services and healthy seeking behaviour and develop and test innovations in demand creation that target the external factors in a person’s life that influence individual behaviour. The aim of the programme was to develop and pilot a set of interventions, which, when scaled, would have the potential to improve health service uptake and promote healthy behaviours of Somali women and children under five.
Hooyo ku Hooyo is one of the interventions developed under SAHAN. In this intervention, experienced women/mothers in the community were incorporated and trained to educate young women in their homes through one-on-one or small group sessions. Focus was on empathy, personalised support and building trust, targeting particular those individuals not using health services. Within the pilot period, 284,433 home visits were conducted, and 143,646 beneficiaries were reached. 56% of those counselled required care for themselves or their children. 95% of those who were referred went to the health facility took up the service. Antenatal care and immunisation were most utilised. A high proportion of visits were first-time contacts with health services.