Mass and Social Media

Radio, TV, billboards, and newspapers, and other mass media tools complement brochures, social media, and other communication approaches to increase knowledge and awareness of health concerns, stimulate positive health-seeking behaviors, and promote social norms that favor healthy practices.

URC applies mass and social media tactics strategically at country level. Our teams use the principles in the Communications Intervention Cycle to design accessible, culturally appropriate campaigns using traditional and new media to achieve social and behavior change objectives. We also support global social media campaigns, such as those of Reading within Reach, to promote broader engagement with literacy and other key development topics.

Mass and social media at work

In the summer of 2014, the USAID Primary Health Care Project in Iraq launched a national mass media campaign to support the Ministry of Health in achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 (reduce child mortality) and 5 (improve maternal health) and improve the quality of primary healthcare. The campaign used a wide array of mass media, interpersonal communication, job aids, and other strategies to raise awareness of the importance of antenatal care, exclusive breastfeeding, immunization, treatment of diarrhea, and good nutrition and hygiene to promote the health of mothers and children.

The campaign broadcast three TV spots, animated songs, and a seven-episode information series. The simple messages and accessible formats were designed to reach populations served by rural sub-clinics that cater to clients with lower levels of education, including illiterate women and internally displaced people who would benefit from the services provided by primary healthcare clinics. The project also printed and distributed educational materials to reinforce the campaign’s messaging and addressed high-priority topics such as polio, cholera, and measles.

Animated PSAs, like this one that features a young girl singing to her mother about the importance of immunization, helped reach illiterate and internally displaced persons with vital health messages in Iraq
Animated PSAs like this one, featuring a girl singing to her mother about the importance of immunization, helped reach illiterate and internally displaced persons with vital health messages in Iraq (2014)