Organising a health campaign
Health campaigns promote health knowledge, skills, attitudes and values on a particular health issue. They may also be used to accomplish a particular community improvement project. The actual community activities of a campaign often take place during only one week or one month. For this reason, campaigns are often called 'Health Weeks'.
A health campaign to promote the uptake of antenatal care could be organised around one issue or problem that has been identified by community members themselves. For example, publicising the benefits of antenatal care services for pregnant women would be a priority campaign in a community where the antenatal care coverage rate was low. If there is a health committee in the community, it should be active in identifying issues for health campaigns, and planning the action to be taken.
Health campaigns can also be conducted at a national level. For example, Ethiopia conducted a campaign called 'Safe Motherhood Month' in January 2010. The focus of the campaign was 'No mother should die while giving birth' (Figure 2.5).
The problem identified was high maternal deaths and complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. At the same time, there was low uptake of maternal health services, such as antenatal care, skilled birth attendance and family planning. Throughout the whole month, advocacy and social mobilisation campaigns were conducted using different communication media, including posters, television broadcasts and radio. There were panel discussions with stakeholders, religious leaders, parliamentarians, and so on, about the magnitude of the maternal health problem and sharing best practice on service provision. Campaigns on family planning and HIV counselling and testing also took place during the month.