IMPROVING HEALTH OUTCOMES IN KENYA
CBCC, Amplio’s affiliate in Kenya, is using Talking Books to support community health volunteers (CHVs) and strengthen social and behavior change outcomes for the Afya Timiza Project, a five-year initiative funded by USAID. The project promotes Family Planning and Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (FP/RMNCAH), as well as Nutrition and WASH services throughout Samburu and Turkana counties in northern Kenya.
CBCC uses a range of communication for development (C4D) tools and strategies, including print, radio, and TV. They say Talking Books — called “DigiSomo” in Swahili — bridges the knowledge gap in rural communities. The device speaks to people in their local language and does not require grid electricity. It uses the same batteries that people use for their torches and radios.
Teo Mukunid, an ICT specialist for CBCC, says the introduction of Talking Books has given CHVs more confidence, status, and authority in the field.
“Previously these communities had no confidence in the community health volunteers or the messages they provided,” he says. “Now that CHVs are using Talking Books to share accurate, standardized information and they have concrete facts at their fingertips, everyone’s confidence has grown. People are referring to the CHV as the village doctor.”
CBCC is charged with implementing SBCC strategies in 25 sub-counties. They currently use Talking Books in seven counties, and they’ve seen an impact. At Archer’s Health Post, there’s been a 40 percent increase in skilled deliveries and 100 percent increase in antenatal (prenatal) visits per month. Based on the positive results, CBCC hopes to extend Talking Books to other counties.
Centre for Behavior Change and Communication (CBCC)
Afya Timiza (funded by USAID)
Samburu County and Turkana County, Kenya
31,154 households in 7 sub-counties
POSTCARD FROM THE FIELD
A CHV (in back row) said he was responsible for six pregnant women, but gained four more from outside of his designated area because of the Talking Book. Referrals are easier, because his clients communicate with him now and tell him when they go to hospital.
CBCC’s M&E officer Joel Olewe introduces a monitoring tool for new content.
A CHV discusses the pros and cons of Talking Books. Battery consumption is the biggest issues. The Talking Book V2 will work with rechargeable batteries.
A CHV talks about a stubborn pregnant woman who finally agreed to deliver in the hospital, although she didn’t get any iron and folic acid supplement (IFAS).
Teo deploys messages for CBCC’s “Ushujaa” campaign. Traditionally, shujaas (heroes) fight to defend their communities from outside threats. The CBCC campaign urges community members to be alert, proactive, and decisive in neutralizing threats to maternal and child health.
A CHV in Namorputh, in Turkana County, demonstrates how to record feedback.
A CHV training session in Lorugum Loima Sub-County in Turkana.
CHVs get training on how to record user feedback on the Talking Book.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
“We are told an under six-months-old baby should not have any other food beside breastmilk. Why do some babies still get diarrhea upon being given only breast milk?”