What gets measured, gets managed

Chalo Gaon Ki Oar, Lekar Apna Hausala

The IEC/BCC Campaign Transforming Lives in Rural Uttar Pradesh

In an unmatched move in scale and intensity, the government of UP launched a statewide IEC/BCC campaign 'Chalo Gaon Ki Oar, Lekar Apna Hausala' in the year 2014-15, seeking to promote healthy behaviour amongst the rural masses through awareness of RMNCH+A health issues. The huge success of the campaign and the need to recapitulate it, resulted in the re-launch of the campaign in the year 2015-16.

Entertainment is intended to stimulate, and then engage the emotions of the audience, while education is designed to induce precise and relevant knowledge and promote new behaviour in specific audiences. The campaign 'Chalo Gaon Ki Oar, Lekar Apna Hausala', designed and developed by SIFPSA for the promotion of NHM schemes surrounding Reproductive, Maternal, Nutrition, Child and Adolescent (RMNCH+A) health issues, having its base in the strong strategy of Edutainment, has both harmoniously blended together.

The campaign, that was launched in the year 2014-15 by the GoUP, owing to its success, audience demand for continuation of the activity and the need for recapitulating it, saw its relaunch on December 04, 2015 at Lucknow by the Hon'ble Member of Parliament from Kannauj, Mrs. Dimple Yadav. The campaign embraced the whole of Uttar Pradesh, covering the entire gamut of RMNCH+A health issues, also skillfully unfolding the role of the accreditted social health activist (ASHA) under NHM.

The IEC components of the campaign included Radio Drama Series and audio spots, covering both urban and rural audiences, and Folk Media capturing the rural audience. Of these, 26-episode radio drama series titled 'Sunehere Sapne Sanwarti Rahein' and airing of audio spots on maternal health, age at marriage, spacing and NSV have been successfully completed.

A good drama can stimulate discussions of desired change and its possible advantages, and encourage the audiences to make their own decisions. With this intent, SIFPSA developed 26 episodes of radio drama series 'Sunehere Sapne Sanwarti Rahein' covering various schemes of the National Health Mission and the role of ASHA under NHM. Radio was recognized as an effective low-cost mass media channel that could be used efficiently for spreading awareness among the targeted population, owing to its maximum reach in media dark rural areas. Thus, it was planned to use radio as a media to inform, educate and communicate the rural communities about the health services available under NHM. The audio campaign not only intended to promote listening habits among the targeted audience, but also reinforce learning and strengthen counselling skills of ASHAs to maximize their efficiency, boosting their confidence and enhancing their image in the comminuty.

'Sunehre Sapne Sanwarti Rahein' was aired every Wednesday between 1.15 pm to 1.45 pm from December to June 2016 on 12 primary channels of the All India Radio. The radio drama series had health messages beautifully woven in an interesting story line. In order to make the program interactive and to generate interest of the audience, 525 listener groups (shrota sanghs), managed by selected ASHAs, were formed at the village level across the state. The ASHAs were provided with a small radio transistor along with batteries for facilitating the radio listening sessions for the groups when the programme was aired. Further, a sum of Rs. 500 was provided to each shrota sangh for arranging dari for its participants and for replacing the worn out batteries whenever needed. Quiz sessions and awards were also made part of the program. To promote the habit of continuous listening, an announcement was made in each episode that a quiz question would be asked in any upcoming episode and that the right answer would fetch an attractive prize.

For aiding the target group members in sending their answers, SIFPSA created a dedicated post box at the GPO, Lucknow. The number of this post box was announced during every episode of the drama series. Out of all the listener groups, answering correctly during the entire span of 26 episodes, 10 winners were to be randomly selected by lottery system. Further, in order to acknowledge the good work done by ASHAs and encouraging greater participation of their listener groups in the quiz, a total of 20 ASHAs, who's groups sent maximum number of letters, were also to be awarded. Two quiz questions were asked during the airing of the 9th and the 20th episodes. Names of winners were announced in the 14th and the 25th episodes. The announcement for the best performing shrota sangh award conferred on 20 ASHAs was made in the 25th episode.

The audio campaign 'Sunehre Sapne Sanwarti Rahein' has received an overwhelming response from the target audience, general public and the ASHAs, with hundreds of letters pouring in from all over the state. The radio drama series seemed to have left a deep impact on the minds of the listners, who identifying themselves very closely to the characters in the play, associated the radio drama story with their own life story. The program seems to have not only provided excellent awareness and knowledge but has also been successful in motivating the target audience for adapting the desired heath seeking behaviour. With the program highlighting the significant role that ASHA plays and the respect she receives in village Jagatganj in the drama has given a great boost to the self esteem of ASHAs.

The enormous success of the intiative and huge public demand reflected through hundreds of letters and correspondences received from shrota sanghs have led to the decision to reproduce the program with 26 new episodes of radio drama series covering newer health issues.

A short poem shared by an adolescent girl Mahima Gupta from Hapur, a regular listener of the radio drama 'Sunehere Sapne Sanvarti Rahein', after listening to the episode on adolescent health underlining the issue of gender bias prevailing in the society, aptly reflects the subtlety and success of this innovative intervention:



''कहती बेटी बाॅह पसार, मुझे चाहिए प्यार-दुलार ।
बेटी की अनदेखी, क्यों, करता है निष्ठुर संसार ।।
गर्भ से लेकर यौवन तक लटक रही मुझ पर तलवार ।
किन्तु मेरे स्वास्थ्य और शरीर का, अब मिलता स्थायी उपचार ।।

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