Early Evidence: Videos can improve health behaviors
The Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiative (BKMI) and its partner the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) are learning many lessons from the eHealth pilot in Bangladesh. Three hundred netbooks have been deployed with an eToolkit of BCC materials for counseling, and eight eLearning video courses designed to improve health and family planning field worker knowledge and skills.
While we have yet to complete our post assessment, we’ve seen how field workers with low literacy and no previous exposure to computers can easily use technology, how their status is elevated in communities from use of the netbooks, and how important health knowledge, communication, and integration skills have improved.
What we have witnessed at the community level is an intention to adopt healthier behaviors among some of the clients of netbook recipient field workers. An important finding has been the preference of the field workers to counsel their clients using the videos in the eToolkit, as well as their own eLearning course videos. The monitoring team has heard time and time again from both field workers and their clients that educational and entertaining videos are in very high demand.
Videos are a very powerful communication channel for reaching the community with important health information. In particular, videos that have an authority figure in them, such as a doctor in a lab coat, are very convincing while also providing entertainment. Field workers also appreciate these because it reinforces the messages they are giving during counseling sessions. Our team has heard, for example, that a woman with several children will now opt to use an IUD because the doctor in the video explained the procedure and eased her fear. Other examples include a daughter now encouraging her mother to wash her hands before preparing food, and a new mother understanding how to position her child when breastfeeding. The entertainment value of some videos draws crowds and has the effect of creating awareness and sparking dialogue. For example, in one village, people were found singing the family planning theme song. In another conservative village, an entertaining video was found to help a young married couple discuss family planning more easily.
Some of the challenges currently being faced are how to keep the netbooks updated with new materials and how to expand the reach of our digital resources (videos in particular) to other communities and facilities outside of our pilot areas. The BKMI team is currently exploring how community and satellite clinics, which are part of the existing MoHFW infrastructure, can be leveraged to reach more people with the important health messages found in the eToolkit and eLearning videos.