In Vietnam a 2009 study revealed that only 20% of mothers practiced the ideal nursing behavior of exclusive breastfeeding. Most women offered their babies water sometime during their first six months, thinking that the babies were “thirsty” or that they were not getting enough milk from breastfeeding alone.
As a result, Alive & Thrive (A&T) embarked on the challenge of improving exclusive breastfeeding practices in Vietnam—at a scale large enough to have an impact on national rates. In three years, the program reached 420,000 Vietnamese mothers with interpersonal counseling and support for breastfeeding. When mass media was added to the campaign mix, the reach grew over 2 million mothers of children under two years.
The newest Spotlight on the Health COMpass site follows the development of the campaign from earliest formative research, through the development of TV spots, their evaluation, and plans for the future. One of the biggest challenges for the team was the actual filming of TV spots using baby “stars” who needed to take breaks for nursing and naps!
Along the way, the team learned a great deal about using the mass media – how to make the most of it and how to avoid pitfalls. For those of us working with mass media as a component of our campaigns, it’s important to read about the lessons learned from this campaign:
- Mass Media Assures Scale
- Full Use of Multimedia Makes a Difference
- Media Intensity Matters
- Tracking Behavioral Determinants Strengthens Evaluation