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Television Broadcasts

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Television Broadcasts


Television Broadcasts

Educate the entire community about health issues through documentaries, commercials, news programs, public service announcements, and other TV programs. The broadcasts, linked to the Facts for Life Calendar, will advertise health days and other monthly TV health shows.


Name:  Television Broadcasts
Theme: Targeting the Whole Community Region and Country: Maharashtra, India
Partners: Beneficiaries:
Funding Need: Budget:
Duration: Contact:

Programme Activities:
70% of all women in Maharashtra are regularly exposed to some form of mass media, and growing numbers of villagers are gaining access to television and radio.  In India, where the illiteracy rate is ____ television and radio programmes, when used as part of a larger communication campaign, have successfully increased overall awareness about the dangers of diarrhoeal diseases and different treatments for dehydration. If all the available media were employed to spread timed, consistent health and diarrhoea management messages, a wider general health consciousness could be achieved in a very short amount of time.

This programme will create integrated TV programmes, as part of the larger communication campaign, to promote knowledge about child diarrhoea and to assure the correct treatment of child diarrhoea and dehydration. This involves teaching parents how to take care of their children during and after diarrhoea episodes, including when to seek help from health professionals. Although face-to-face communication is the most effective way to teach parents how to treat their children during diarrhoea episodes, this can only take place for those parents who come to the health facilities, and often times parents forget what they learn in these visits.

TV can complement face-to-face communication in diarrhoeal disease control programmes because it:

  • Reinforces the advice that health workers are giving.

  • Reaches those people who do not come to health facilities

It can also:

  • Help the CDD programme to promote behaviours that will help prevent diarrhoea.

  • Help inform people and raise awareness about a new idea, a new product, or a service that is available.

  • Create a demand for services. ("Ask the doctor for advice on how to encourage your child to eat during diarrhoea.")

  • Remind people what they have already learned. ("Remember to take your child to the clinic if her diarrhoea has blood in it.")

  • Motivate people, by presenting information in a compelling or entertaining way.

TV is a very important tool for the promotional and educational components of national programmes. In India, TV reaches a large audience, and those shows which are well-targeted, researched, pre-tested, and adequately placed in the broadcast schedule become attractive, competitive and cost-effective ways to communicate new and time-tested advice.

To have an impact, longer TV-programmes (which are usually broadcast only once) should be broadcast several times. Shorter materials, such as commercials, need to be broadcast several times each day for three to four months to have an impact.

The steps for the development and use of effective communicative TV shows are:

  1. Investigate: Gather information about the status of your diarrhoea programme, and about TV viewing patterns in your country. Using that information, decide whether or not to use TV, whether to use free TV time or purchased (commercial) time, and whether to develop your own shows or to adapt already existing shows. Gather information about what people currently know, believe, and do about the child's diarrhoea, why they do it, what words and phrases they use to talk about it. Use that information to plan.

  2. Plan: Decide what diarrhoeal problem you will focusing on in your TV programme, who is your target audience, what they should do to solve the problem, and why, and how many different shows you will produce (commercial, documentary, public service announcement).

  3. Develop Materials: Write (or adapt) and produce draft TV shows.

  4. Pre-test and Revise: Pre-test your TV shows to ensure that they are understandable, acceptable, relevant, attractive, and persuasive. Revise your shows based on the comments and suggestions made during the pre-test.

  5. Implement

  6. Monitor, Evaluate, and Revise

Intended Results:
The 70% of all women in Maharashtra that are regularly exposed to some form of mass media will be targeted in the TV shows and educated through timed, consistent, health and diarrhoea management messages, and a wider general health consciousness will be achieved in a very short amount of time. The TV spots and messages will be in the form of interviews, documentaries, commercials, news programs, public service announcements, and other TV formats. These broadcasts will be integrated with all the other programmes so that it is used to strengthen and support other communication activities such as face-to-face advising health education talks, or the distribution of printed materials.

Programme Management and Implementation:
Through the necessary partnership between the state of Maharashtra, local TV stations, health workers, and others involved in the TV broadcasts, TV programmes will be created to educate the public and spread appropriate health messages. The shows will be broadcast several times each day on the TV stations and at the times when people are listening. These times will be targeted to specific audiences. For example, if mothers are a majority of the population watching TV from the hours of 7-9 AM, then shows and messages about breastfeeding procedures, diarrhoea management, timing births and other relevant shows will be broadcast at that time.

Programme Monitoring and Evaluation:
The programme will be monitored by watching the TV to ensure that materials are being broadcast as scheduled. The programme will be evaluated to understand what people are learning and doing, and the spots and the broadcast schedule will be revised based on their reactions.

Learning and Dissemination:

Related Resources:

In India, a television campaign designed to modernize the image of ORT targeted both physicians as well as parents. Explaining that modern doctors used ORT, the spots announced, "If your doctor is modern, then he should be using it too."

This, along with other ORT mass media promotion programmes that have been implemented in other countries, revealed the following lessons:

To make ORT a family habit communication campaigns must:

  • be ongoing and sustained for many years since diarrhoea will always be a problem

  • develop a communication strategy that is based on research about local knowledge attitudes and behaviours and rely on communication experts to design and test concepts

  • use multiple media to reinforce the same messages

  • be timed when diarrhoeal diseases are at their height and parents are most responsive to the messages

  • be synchronized with social mobilization efforts to ensure maximum impact

  • be implemented simultaneously with steady infrastructure-building, including improving case management and ORS supplies.

This information was published in Oral Rehydration Therapy, Elixir of Life on page 21.



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