Six years ago, DMI partnered with the London School of Hygiene and Tropic Medicine to conduct the first randomized controlled trial (RCT) on whether a mass media campaign could save lives. The preliminary results from this RCT suggest that our campaign has significantly increased treatment-seeking for children under five, ante-natal care visits and health-facility deliveries.
Based on these initial positive results, we are now planning to launch campaigns across eight West African countries to improve child and maternal health. The campaign, Radio4Life, prioritises countries that have been left behind in current efforts to address maternal and child deaths, and have failed to reach their Millennium Development Goals, such as Mali, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. As donor attention is shifting to new important topics on the sustainable development agenda, a continued investment in these countries is needed to reduce maternal, child and newborn mortality. We estimate that our Radio4Life campaigns could save over 60,000 lives over the next three years at a cost per DALY of $25 or less.
Scaling up our child and maternal health campaign will be no easy undertaking. We have conducted several scoping trips in Guinea, Niger and Cote d’Ivoire – and one thing that all of these trips have taught us is that scaling up our approach will require us to adapt to a variety of settings and try new ways of working with partners to maintain our cost-effectiveness. To better tackle these challenges we are planning to partner with a range of external organisations to help us to think through the various ways in which we could take our work to scale. We are also testing new ways of evaluating our campaigns, such as high-frequency data collection and time series analysis.