Category Archives: Global Health

Ok. I will admit. I have a crush on Atul Gawande.

I love his book, The Checklist Manifesto and his no-nonsense approach to avoiding medical errors which plague health facilities in the US.

Rather than pointing fingers he provides a practical tool for hospital staff to ensure all steps are covered during hospital procedures.

In his recent article in the July 29th New Yorker, SLOW IDEAS: Some innovations spread fast. How do you speed the ones that don’t? http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/07/29/130729fa_fact_gawande Gawande examines how important global health practices can “stick” given the right approaches and tools.

As someone who has been following the literature and practice of behavior change for 30+ years, such a treat to come across this article that succeeds in explaining behavioral theory, research and practice in one easily digestible, non-academic article.

The big take from Gawande’s article….

The gold standard for behavior change is positive personal interaction. High touch (personal interaction, mentoring, one-to-one instruction) interventions in many cases can be more effective than low touch (mass media, instructional curricula, and technology) interventions.

So in keeping with his checklist approach I will share with you my checklist from his article:

1. Observe and understand the context for why a behavior is or isn’t being practiced
2. Learn why people are doing what they are doing- and what is getting in the way of doing things the right way
3. Don’t assume that technology is the best solution (especially in global health)
4. Instructions (a checklist) followed by careful mentoring can reinforce positive behaviors for health professionals
5. Mass media is helpful to sustain a behavior over time
6. Community interventions that require a community learning a new practice need: individual interventions that demonstrate the practice; observations of community members trying the practice and monitoring of the practice over time.

I’m eagerly awaiting his next book.

Kudos to our friends and colleagues at Games for Change

Earlier this week they launched their innovative new project, Half the Sky http://www.gamesforchange.org/press-room/

And to their partners USAID, The Ford Foundation and Show of Force.

Its formal name – Half the Sky Movement Media and Technology Engagement Initiative – is a lot to remember and quite official-sounding….it doesn’t really tell you how exciting and groundbreaking this program is.

It is a mix of games and social media (Facebook game came on board early) and traditional media such as short videos to help change behavior and attitudes toward women and girls’.

What does it do?

Evidence shows that a combination of communication tools – games, videos, social media, news stories can contribute to a shift in attitudes and behaviors toward women and girls (gender). Half the Sky has corralled these new and traditional media tools to create multiple sources of information that reach populations at all levels – national and community.

Half the Sky has focused on pregnancy care – getting men involved in pregnancy care, elevating and equalizing girls’ status in their family, and deworming treatment and prevention.

The games that are part of Half the Sky – developed by Games for Change – will be launched in Kenya and India and are being translated to Swahili and Hindi.
Community interventions include three mobile phone games.

So…who made it happen?

USAID…The Ford Foundation…Facebook game developed by Frima Studio…Games for Change…Show of Force…

Congrats to all…and THANKS!