A cluster randomised trial (CRT) in Burkina Faso was the first to demonstrate that a radio campaign increased health-seeking behaviours, specifically antenatal care attendance, health facility deliveries and primary care consultations for children under 5 years.
Methods: Under-five consultation data by diagnosis was obtained from primary health facilities in trial clusters, from January 2011 to December 2014. Interrupted time-series analyses were conducted to assess the intervention effect by time period on under-five consultations for separate diagnosis categories that were targeted by the media campaign. The Lives Saved Tool was used to estimate the number of under-five lives saved and the per cent reduction in child mortality that might have resulted from increased health service utilisation. Scenarios were generated to estimate the effect of the intervention in the CRT study areas, as well as a national scale-up in Burkina Faso and future scale-up scenarios for national media campaigns in five African countries from 2018 to 2020.
Evidence from a CRT shows that a child health radio campaign increased under-five consultations at primary health centres for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea (the leading causes of post neonatal child mortality in Burkina Faso) and resulted in an estimated 7.1% average reduction in under-five mortality per year. These findings suggest important reductions in under-five mortality can be achieved by mass media alone, particularly when conducted at national scale.
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