Communicating safe motherhood: Strategic messaging in a globalized world

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The practice of education as a tool of persuasive communication has been used in family planning and reproductive health for at least 50 years. However, the past three decades have seen a phenomenal evolution of communication as a social science; as a result there has been an increasingly systematic research-based application of mass media—particularly television, radio, newspapers, and internet—for enhancing the impact of health messaging. In this article I examine the theoretical underpinnings of behavior change communication in the context of the aforementioned mediating factors that influence the design and content of family planning and reproductive health programs. I look at three main types of behavior change communication strategies, entertainment education, social marketing, and advocacy, and describe how these three strategies have been applied to effect social change using a case study to describe and assist in reviewing the impact they have had on targeted behaviors. The descriptions of different programs and their impact have been taken from detailed reports procured from either organizational personnel who conducted those programs or from organizational websites. This chapter culminates with a discussion of key technical, administrative, and political challenges that affect the creation and implementation of such international collaborative programs, with insights from field experts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-199
Number of pages27
JournalMarriage and Family Review
Issue number2/3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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