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20 Nov 2010 - 31 Jan 2011
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More about our health work
Health is fundamental to human wellbeing and social development. We believe that it depends not just on the absence of disease, but on physical, mental and social well-being.

Our work in developing and transitional countries focuses on five key areas:

  • Maternal and child health
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Infectious diseases (e.g. leprosy, malaria, trachoma and TB)
  • Mental health, substance abuse and violence
Our approach
It is challenging for people to protect or improve their health without information. We use radio, television, the internet and mobile phones to provide life-saving information to people in need.
Dramas, interactive discussion programmes, public-service announcements, reality television shows, music videos, competitions, outdoor advertising and even mobile ring tones help raise awareness of critical health issues and change behaviour and attitudes.
Through our work, we aim to:
  • Foster healthy attitudes and behaviour by increasing knowledge, discussion, debate and life skills, such as infant nutrition
  • Encourage the creation and use of appropriate health resources, by increasing demand for products and services, such as antenatal care
  • Generate healthy environments by changing social norms, including reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS
Our work is having a direct, positive impact on the lives of millions of people around the world.
We are able to measure changes in knowledge; attitudes and practice thanks to rigorous qualitative and quantitative research before, during and after our programmes are broadcast.
Access to information and discussion about health
Many of our health-related programmes have been phenomenally successfully in reaching large audiences - this has been achieved through a wide variety of high quality outputs, tailored to audiences and their media preferences and environments.
In India, 70 million people watched Jasoos Vijay, our drama series about an HIV positive detective. During its 53 week broadcast run from September 2005 to September 2006, Jasoos Vijay was one of the top 20 most viewed television programmes in India. More
In Angola, 54% of radio listeners have heard one or more of our public service announcements about HIV and AIDS, and in Nigeria, eight out of 10 people have seen or heard at least one of our radio or television programmes or public service announcements about sexual health and HIV and AIDS. More
Raising awareness
In Nepal, our nation-wide mass media campaign to support efforts to eliminate trachoma significantly raised awareness of the disease. Awareness of an eye disease called ‘trachoma' rose from 9% at the beginning of the campaign to 97% at the end of the campaign.
Increasing knowledge
In Cambodia, our nation-wide mass media campaign to improve maternal and child health significantly increased knowledge of all three danger signs of acute respiratory illness - coughing, fast breathing and chest in-drawing. For example, 8% knew that fast breathing was a danger sign at the beginning of the campaign, while 48% knew this midway through the campaign. More
Changing attitudes
In Angola, our nation-wide mass media campaign to promote sexual health among young people changed attitudes around buying condoms: 90% of people who listened did not think that buying condoms was immoral, compared to 81% of non-listeners. More
In Cambodia, our campaign to promote sexual health and change knowledge, attitudes and behaviour around HIV and AIDS significantly changed attitudes to buying condoms. The number of people agreeing that it is acceptable for a woman to buy condoms increased from 60% at the beginning of the campaign to 80% at the end. More
Changing behaviour
In India, consistent condom use reported by men who had watched Haath Se Haath Mila, our reality television series designed to change knowledge, attitudes and behaviour around HIV and AIDS, was 62% higher among those who had been exposed to the programme. More
Social change
In India, the attitude that people living with HIV and AIDS have the same rights as people who don't have the virus increased from 67% to 80% among male viewers of our television detective series, Jasoos Vijay. More
Use of health services
In Cambodia, the number of pregnant women having ante natal check ups to safeguard their health increased significantly during our mass media campaign to improve maternal and child health: from 49% at the beginning of the campaign to 68% at the end of the campaign. More
In Nigeria, our nation-wide mass media campaign to stop HIV and AIDS resulted in an increase in the desire to be tested for HIV - from 39% at the beginning of the campaign to 47% midway through the campaign. More
Working in partnership
Because the health challenges in each country are different, different approach are required.
We develop our programmes, public service advertising, outreach materials and training initiatives in close consultation with people from our target audiences to ensure that we communicate health information and messages effectively.
We work in partnership with governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in developing countries to make the most of educational opportunities and to extend the impact of our programmes.
Our programmes are produced in partnership with local broadcasters and media professionals. We aim to enhance their skills and strengthen their infrastructure so that they can produce their own health-related programming in the future.
Related links
Using media to improve health
Case studies
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