One of the most cost-effective ways of targeting the issues of Maternal and Child Health

One of the most cost-effective ways of targeting the issues of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) is through Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC). SBCC is part of the broader sub-discipline of health communication – the study and application of communication strategies for promoting positive health outcomes (Sreekumaran et al., 2016). According to Sreekumaran et al (2016), SBCC is the whole range of procedures and techniques used to inspire positive health outcomes by making planned and prearranged usage of communication to strengthen health seeking behaviours through health literacy and can be either focused at the community or individual level. SBCC is defined as “a research-based consultative process of addressing knowledge, attitudes and practices through identifying, analysing and segmenting audiences and participants in programmes by providing them with relevant information and motivation through well-defined strategies, using an audience-appropriate mix of interpersonal, group and mass-media channels, including participatory methods” (Sreekumaran et al., 2016).
With components ranging from interpersonal communication between a community health worker and her client to multi-level mass media campaigns, evidence-based and theory-driven BCC interventions are an fundamental part of all types of health promotion and disease deterrence, and have been shown to meaningfully improve behaviours, notably in the areas of family planning and HIV prevention, but also in hygiene and sanitation, nutrition, and other disease areas (Koenker et al., 2014). Strategically targeting messages and approaches allows SBCC to focus on specific individuals, household, or communities to maximize results of health interventions. This results-based approach to control and prevention has been used in a variety of settings to assess or change behaviour related to health, and strong evidence suggests that quality BCC can improve malaria prevention and treatment behaviours SBCC occupies a strategic position in health promotion, as research has shown that theory driven and evidence-based SBCC interventions are the hallmarks of successful health promotion programs (Korda and Itani, 2013).
SBCC can be directed at different levels of communities such as local, regional, and national levels, through wide varieties of mechanisms delivered by different modes of networks and forms (Leslie et al., 2015). SBCC can be used for community mobilization, nutrition and health education as well as different public outreach programs (Leslie et al., 2015). Moreover, the understanding that health behavior/status is an interplay of biological, social and environmental factors supports the need for SBCC interventions (Koenker et al., 2014). Using the most fundamental and powerful human interaction, communication, SBCC can positively influence the social components of health and wellbeing. SBCC has been noted to be effective in areas such as nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, and in many other diseases.


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