Behaviour-change communication on health related issues (part two)

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Helpdesk Query:

What is the extent to which different behaviour-change communication (BCC) approaches have been effective in (a) changing health-related behaviour, and (b) increasing the demand for appropriate health services?


Several behaviour-change communication (BCC) approaches have been effective in changing health-related behaviours, as well as increasing the demand for appropriate health services. However, limitations have been found in these approaches to varying degrees.
As in the first part of this query (part one), results for this review are primarily taken from countries or regions with Islam as the dominant religion. Results from health- and nutrition-related projects using BCC are included for the following socially-conservative settings: Afghanistan, Benin, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Malaysia, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Tanzania, Thailand, and Yemen. These groups therefore have more similar health behaviours and Islamic views on use of health services.

Human behaviour, including utilisation and acceptability of healthcare services, is “greatly influenced” by religious beliefs and dogmas (Basharat & Shaikh, 2017). However, there are mixed results on whether healthcare-seeking behaviour is driven by religion (Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey, 2008), cultural beliefs (Adulyarat et al., 2016), the inability to recognise health problems (Killewo et al., 2006) or other factors (Mebratie et al., 2014).

The body of literature focussing on the effectiveness of BCC to change health-related behaviours is plentiful for maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) programmes in low- and middle-income countries. Demand for service use related to religion is more of a factor for MCHN and immunisation than for reproductive/family planning programmes. The evidence found is gender blind; however,
there is a tendency for BCC projects to focus more on women as the primary party responsible for caring for family members and accessing health services.

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