IMPROVING HEALTH OUTCOMES IN KENYA
Centre for Behaviour Change and Communication, a Kenyan organization and Amplio affiliate, used Talking Books to strengthen maternal and child health outcomes for the Afya Timiza Project, a five-year initiative funded by USAID. The project promoted Family Planning and Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (FP/RMNCAH), as well as Nutrition and WASH services throughout Samburu and Turkana counties.
CBCC specializes in social and behavior change (SBC) programming across all sectors, and uses a range of communication for development tools and strategies, including print, radio, and TV. They say the Talking Book — called “Digisomo” in Swahili — bridges the knowledge gap in rural communities, because it speaks to people in their local language and does not require electricity.
“I’ve worked in the field of social and behavior change communication for 20 years. When I saw the Talking Book, I knew this was the tool we have been looking for — because it addresses all of the challenges and knowledge gaps we have in SBCC,” said Catherine Lengewe, technical and strategy director.
ICT specialist Teobald Munkid agreed.
“Community health volunteers say the Talking Book helps them do their work more efficiently and effectively. It gives them more confidence, and more authority in the field,” he says.
“Previously these communities had no confidence in the community health volunteers or the messages they provided,” he says. “Now that they are using Talking Books to share accurate, standardized information and have concrete facts at their fingertips, everyone’s confidence has grown. People are referring to the CHV as the village doctor.”
CBCC is charged with implementing SBCC strategies in 25 sub-counties. They currently use Talking Books in seven counties, and they’ve seen an impact. At Archer’s Health Post, there’s been a 48 percent increase in skilled deliveries and 100 percent increase in antenatal (prenatal) visits per month. Based on the positive results, CBCC hopes to extend Talking Books to other counties.
USAID and Centre for Behavior Change and Communication (CBCC)
Samburu County and Turkana County, Kenya
31,154 households in 7 sub-counties
POSTCARD FROM THE FIELD
A CHV (in back row) said he was responsible for six pregnant women, but gained four more from outside of his designated area because of the Talking Book. Referrals are easier, because his clients communicate with him now and tell him when they go to hospital.
Joel Olewe, CBCC’s monitoring and evaluations officer, was keen to document the stories.
ICT specialist Teobald Mukunid collects the usage logs from the Talking Books and loads a new deployment of content.
M&E officer Joel Olewe introduces a monitoring tool for new content.
A CHV from Kisima shares updates about a “binti shujaa,” a teen mother under the age of 17 who she supports.
A CHV discusses the pros and cons of Talking Books. Battery consumption is the biggest issue. The Talking Book V2 will work with rechargeable batteries.
A CHV talks about a stubborn pregnant woman who finally agreed to deliver in the hospital, although she didn’t get any iron and folic acid supplement (IFAS).
Teo deploys messages for CBCC’s “Ushujaa” campaign. Traditionally, shujaas (heroes) fight to defend their communities from outside threats. The CBCC campaign urges community members to be alert, proactive, and decisive in neutralizing threats to maternal and child health.
A CHV from Kangakipur CU in Turkana, demonstrates how to record feedback.
“Initially our work was very hard. We had a lot of talking and explaining to do during household visits and group discussions. With Talking Books, our work has been simplified in a big way. We can play a message and engage the listeners in a discussion,” she says.
A CHV from Namorputh CU in Turkana describes how one man, after recording his feedback message on the Talking Book, was very excited to hear his voice on the device and promised to go construct a pit latrine for his family.
“I like the fact that the topics are arranged in an orderly way from birth plan all the way to child care. It really helps my listeners to understand well. They are not given too many messages at once, which can confuse them.”
— a CHV from Lorghum CU in Turkana.
A CHV in Turkana shows community members how to record feedback.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
The Talking Book has a built-in microphone that allows listeners to record their questions and feedback in response to the information they hear on the Talking Book. User feedback can provide invaluable insight about the impact Talking Book messages have in the community, which helps organizations identify barriers to behavior change and update content or programming to address issues and concerns.
“Men are not supportive in this community for us the pregnant women to go for antenatal care. There are instances wives will beg transportation money from their husbands but they will refuse to give us.”
“If I am below 18 years and have nobody to take care of me in school, does that mean that I cannot drop out from school and marry.”
“We are told an under six-months-old baby should not have any other food beside breastmilk. Why do some babies still get diarrhea upon being given only breast milk?”
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