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Child health

Making waves: can radio reduce child mortality?

In The Lancet Global Health, Sophie Sarrassat and colleagues report on the first cluster randomised controlled trial of a radio intervention to reduce child mortality. The study is exceptional in its design and ambition: a systematic review of 111 mass media interventions to improve child survival found that only 32 used moderate to strong evaluation designs and only one measured an actual health outcome.2This elegant Burkinabé trial bucks all trends.

Effect of a mass radio campaign on family behaviours and child survival in Burkina Faso: a repeated cross-sectional, cluster-randomised trial.

Background: Media campaigns can potentially reach a large audience at relatively low cost but, to our knowledge, no randomised controlled trials have assessed their effect on a health outcome in a low-income country. We aimed to assess the effect of a radio campaign addressing family behaviours on all-cause post-neonatal under-5 child mortality in rural Burkina Faso.

Countdown to 2030: tracking progress towards universal coverage for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health

Building upon the successes of Countdown to 2015, Countdown to 2030 aims to support the monitoring and measurement of women's, children's, and adolescents' health in the 81 countries that account for 95% of maternal and 90% of all child deaths worldwide. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the rate of decline in prevalence of maternal and child mortality, stillbirths, and stunting among children younger than 5 years of age needs to accelerate considerably compared with progress since 2000.

HealthPhone: Poshan. Nutrition Mobile Apps - Now available from the Google Play Store

The vast majority of Indian families and women do not follow the following practices, contributing significantly to the high prevalence of malnutrition and disease in children under five years of age:
- 75% of new mothers are anaemic and most put on less weight during pregnancy than they should.
- Colostrum is essential because it prepares the baby's digestive system for the mature milk that the baby will receive in the next few days.

Engaging communities for increasing immunisation: what do we know?

This paper analyses the role of community engagement approaches in immunisation programmes. It finds that these programmes focus mainly on demand generation. Technology-based interventions may work but contextual factors should inform the programme design. The study also highlights implementation problems, which if not addressed, can lead to a lack of confidence in the programme. However, more studies are needed to identify what works in this regard.


Kenya: Church Told Off Over Polio Vaccine

Yesterday, the government of Kenya hosted an EPI stakeholders' meeting to review progress and setbacks of the national immunization porgram.. The meeting followed by 24 hours a call by the Catholic bishops of Kenya to postpone the August polio vaccination cammpaign. Their views were not shared by Senator Harold Kipchumba, who spoke as follows to the meeting (excerpt from my unofficial notes; full text attached). Polio Ambassador Harold Kipchumba, on crutches, came to the podium...



Development Media International: midline results update

Development Media International (DMI) is conducting a three-year randomised controlled trial in Burkina Faso, to test the proposition that a radio campaign focused on child health can reduce under-five mortality. This is the most rigorous trial ever conducted of a mass media health intervention. For details, visit 

... the first randomised controlled trial to demonstrate that mass media can cause behaviour change. We expect the endline results to be stronger still.


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