The role of integrated marketing communication is to increase awareness and reach a larger audience. This simply means utilizing several different platforms and mediums to spread the intended message.
As the Covid-19 interventions are largely behavioral change skewed, Amref Health Africa has incorporated them in the Hygiene and Behaviour change program to reach out to communities within the 10 counties identified as Covid-19 hotspots in Kenya. Working closely with the Ministry of Health officials within the counties, Amref Heath has incorporated its nudges in wall posters within the hospital/ dispensaries to reinforce pro-social/ healthy behaviors. The nudges in this instance are acting as constant reminders to individuals to take personal responsibility in protecting themselves against Covid-19 by adhering to the 5 key behavior of wearing a mask, washing hands with soap, physical distancing, cough etiquette and ability to identify symptoms of the disease.
The nudges for HBCC program aim to in trigger positive action towards all Covid-19 preventative measures, they demonstrate the action required but more importantly the message aims to place the responsibility to the individuals
Reflecting on the Migori county exercise.
What catches your eye is the language communicating the nudge, it’s in dholuo. “This is not new as it has been used for numerous public awareness campaigns” says Raymond Obare, a communication officer for the HBCC Coalition at Amref Health Africa. A common way to communicate and influence behaviour change, The HBCC program has used nudges to amplify their poster messaging ensuring our diverse audiences are reached via the medium and language that best suits them and also drives them towards desired behavior or action
The nudges in use in Migori and other areas have been localized to personalize the message and eliminate translation gaps around Covid-19. The language localization is further amplified with training of CHW’s and CHV’s who understand and relate to the sensitivities of local cultures and norms being observed
Results from localizing the last mile has allowed for messages to be owned and embraced by respective communities, new words and terminologies being added to local dialect helping raise the acceptance and success of interventions being delivered.
Nudging is a concept in behavioral economics, political theory, and behavioral sciences which proposes positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions as ways to influence the behavior and decision making of groups or individuals.
To nudge literally means to gently push someone or something in a particular direction; figuratively it means to encourage through words or actions with the latter being referred to as the power of suggestion. Thus any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people's behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options is a nudge.
While in Kisii and Migori the Amref Health, County Health officials and NBCC distributed and plastered nudges in more than 80 health centers. Core to the effort was ensuring the nudges are strategically placed within the health facilities, all aimed at promoting healthy habits in order to mitigate the spread of Covid -19.
Staff in recipient facilities expressed their appreciation, noting that it will now be easier to point the patients towards the posters for self-reading as opposed to repeating the messages constantly.
Further a general observation across all health facilities was that they well stocked and functioning handwashing stations a good sign that the hand hygiene interventions are being adhered to as part of behavior change to reinforce the anti Covid-19 interventions