Home > Programmes > 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
|Name: Television Broadcasts
|Theme: Targeting the Whole Community
||Region and Country: Maharashtra, India
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:
It can also:
Help the CDD programme to promote behaviours that will help prevent
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
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
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.
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).
Develop Materials: Write (or adapt) and produce draft TV shows.
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.
Monitor, Evaluate, and Revise
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
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:
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
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