A core mission of the HCA Division is to encourage and support students of public health to develop and efficiently use strategic health communication and advocacy skills in the realm of practice. Curricula developed have aimed at deepening understanding and knowledge of theoretical principles and research. A two-week Health Communication, Advocacy & Journalism teaching module is conducted each year as part of the Post Graduate Diploma in Public Health Management run by the Indian Institutes of Public Health. This course has been taught for two years. A set of Health Policy and Advocacy lectures is also delivered for the Post Graduate Diploma in Health Economics and Policy.
Training Programmes: Enhancing Capacity Among Key Target Groups
Read about trainings conducted below:
Capacity Enhancement on Effective Strategies for Behaviour Change (2010)
The training was executed as a four-day skills-building programme with a focus on strengthening professional capacity of 26 District Media Experts under the NRHM in Assam to develop a more strategic and planned approach to Behaviour Change Communication (BCC), to shape practices and demand for services among communities. The District Media Expert (DME) is a key person in the larger NRHM framework as a communicator, counselor, advocate, service provider, manager, motivator and trainer -- in effect a powerful agent of change at the grass-roots, helping communities achieve positive behaviour change, thereby assisting the government machinery (at state and therefore national level) accomplish the goals of the NRHM.
Cascade Training for the Orissa School Health Programme (2010)
It is a well-recognized fact that healthy children are able to attend school more regularly while poor health and malnutrition are important underlying factors for low school enrollment, absenteeism, poor classroom performance, and early school dropout. The School Health Programme is part of the vision of NRHM. The goal is to provide basic healthcare (screening) services with components under National Rural Health Mission of India. In order to support the screening process in the state of Orissa, a series of simple, interactive, easy to use and easy to understand modules have been developed, synergizing technical information and basics of behaviour change communication. The TOT was envisioned to enable trainees to administer skill-based training in an interactive manner, using local examples, case-studies and adult learning techniques. Key health messages for communication and techniques to share them with students were developed for each technical session, with a focus on Behaviour Change Communication.
Cascade Training for Rogi Kalayan Samitis (RKS) and Village Health & Sanitation Committees (VHSC) (2010)
The NRHM had requested PHFI to design a short term training of trainers programme covering the scope, functions and operations of RKS & VHSC in which strategic communication, interpersonal and small group communication were an important part of facilitating the development of a district level training plan. This training was funded by the National Rural Health Mission, Sikkim and was conducted for 56 participants in two batches.
Training Project Officers of National Programmes of Relevance (2009)
The National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) regularly invites the HCA team to offer technical support with their overall mandate. Sessions on 'Communication Processes and Communication for Behaviour Change' as part of the Job Training course for mid-level ICDS workers, instructors of Anganwadi Workers and Child Development Project Officers have been organized to address information and awareness needs related to their job profile.
Training Malaria Programme Consultants in Communication (2009)
The Division was assigned the responsibility of developing a one- day communication training module for District Vector Borne Disease Consultants. The training was technically supported by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, National Institute of Medical Research and National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme.
Teaching the Teacher to Teach (T5), Boston University School of Public Health (2007-2009)
Over two summers, the Boston University School of Public Health organized a three-week long pedagogy workshop with technical support from the Division. Aimed at enhancing teaching capacity and skills among PHFI's Future Faculty Fellows, the workshop focused on developing an understanding of the pedagogic challenges and the importance of a student-centric teaching environment. PHFI now has 25 T5-trained faculty and efforts will now commence to consolidate and build a programme in India along similar lines.
Public education on preventive health and specific disease conditions has grown by leaps and bounds, given the expansion in print and electronic media. However, large disparities still exist in terms of awareness and the reach of these media. The need for a systematic assessment and engagement to enable community health awareness and understanding begs the creation of behaviour change initiatives that promote ownership of context-specific messages and appropriate community media platforms, rather than those designed by agents external to the community. Thus, the current focus of the Division has been to serve community-defined information needs as against the provision of information according to predetermined, categorical solutions. The aspects of prevention addressed are tailored to community inputs through participatory action research on real and perceived health problems and risks, existing levels of knowledge, attitudes, and practice; resource bottlenecks for change in the form of social determinants and opportunities that may be explored for healthier practices and behaviours.
Read project descriptions below:
'Maanavta Se Anmol Mann Tak' (2010-12)
Under the aegis of the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) completed the implementation of a pilot awareness generation campaign on Mental Health. This initiative was started with the objective of encouraging timely help-seeking behaviour by individuals and families through sharing information on available services and initiating efforts in stigma reduction in ten districts of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. A series of activities were conducted in partnership with civil society organizations and in close collaboration with the District Mental Health Programme teams; namely development of IEC materials for dissemination, twenty mental health awareness and check-up camps, twenty Speakers' Bureau interactions with the public, university student sensitization workshops and creation of student-led peer education and awareness activities, 'Uniting Hearts and Minds' - a Festival of Creative Expressions on Mental Health and monitoring and evaluation. The findings of a survey and the experience of the pilot campaign are being used to create a an upscaled strategy and Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) campaign on mental health, including key information and motivation to break the silence surrounding mental health illness.
Health Literacy Project (2009-10)
A health literacy grassroots awareness project to enhance knowledge and awareness of risk factors and symptoms related to Diabetes and Cancer of the Cervix among communities in Gujarat, Orissa and Delhi. Participatory action research with communities has supported the creation of innovative, appropriate and culturally-acceptable media, such as nukkad natak, songs, health melas, adapted board games, community radio and other cultural art forms. Thus, the project has developed a stronger understanding of community-led communication needs and requirements in partnership with Darpana for Development, South Orissa Voluntary Action and Deepalaya.
Raising the discourse on the Arts and Public Health (2009)
In an effort to strengthen innovative approaches to health promotion, a brainstorming was organized with experts and practitioners from the field to mine ideas for the creation of a common platform for national and international exchange of good practices in Public Health and the Arts. Enhancing the use of diverse art forms, sensitizing professionals to use innovative approaches more often, and creation of new partnerships were part of the discussion.
Information & Communication Technology (ICT) is universally acknowledged as an important catalyst for social transformation and national progress; as a facilitating medium of health promotion from information management, dissemination to building interactivity in communication. The Division distinguishes that the use of ICT for sharing vital information on health finds meaning when it is able to capture the imagination of its audience and create an ambience of change, in both individuals and communities. The aim of our efforts has been to bridge the Digital Divide, in terms of the enormous geographic and demographic disparity in ICT use, by focusing on achieving the highest standards in accuracy and stylistic presentation of vital health information to pan-Indian audience. The use of digital platforms reflects our need to develop a close and constant connection with a wide range of partners who will help to communicate, on a variety of public health issues, with organizations and individuals who represent a diversity of interests and perspectives on public health to ignite lively discussion on how best public health action can improve India's lagging health indicators and reduce the glaring health inequities.
Read project descriptions below:
Healthy India: Web Technology for Health Promotion and Prevention of Chronic Disease (initiated in 2007)
Healthy India (www.healthyindia.org.in) is an award-winning website created, maintained and managed by the HCA Division at PHFI in collaboration with and financially supported by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Launched in April 2007, Healthy India is aimed at promoting health-seeking behaviour and growing health literacy through the provision of credible information.
Healthy-India.org has been adjudged Winner of the PC World Web Awards 2008, for excellence in overall performance in the healthcare category. The awards were presented across 31 categories and experts rated about 500 websites to declare the website a winner. ~ PC World, July 2008
Newsletter: Kushal ~ Global Public Health Connect (initiated in 2009)
An e-newsletter Kushal – which means "well-being" or "good" in Sanskrit – was launched in 2009 with support from USAID (MCH Star). Kushal covers major public health issues for a diverse readership of public health practitioners, academicians, government and non-governmental organizations, multilateral and bilateral agencies, international development partners, donors, the private sector, opinion makers and leaders, young readers and others.
To subscribe to our newsletter, please log on to: www.phfi.org/newsletter
National programmes and initiatives receive ongoing technical support from the Division, as strategy documents setting the vision and guiding the mission for health communication and promotion activities. Situational analysis of the ground realities and consultation with key stakeholders has led to a deeper understanding of barriers and design of blueprints for Behaviour Change Communication, as a response. The use of formative research to bolster the evidence-base for sectoral goals, strategic gear-shifts and development of an implementation framework has been focused to highlight operational issues and capacity building needs for change. Further direction and the course of action, including key messages, media and communication mix are then tailored, following a detailed review and segmentation of the varied audiences.
Read project descriptions below:
Communication Strategy for Zoonoses Control (2009-10)
PHFI was unanimously appointed as nodal agency for the Roadmap to Combat Zoonoses in India (RCZI). The HCA Division has developed a communication strategy framework for the prevention and control of zoonoses in India. A series of field visits, expert consultations and literature review were an integral part of the methodology. Social determinants of health-seeking behavior, socioeconomic conditions, cultural diversities, the availability or non-availability of services (both human, veterinary and wildlife) and the opportunities to think, learn and take decisions to safeguard human lives, livestock, poultry and wildlife informed the strategy.
The ICDS-IV Reform Project: A Communication Strategy (2008)
A Communication Strategy was designed and developed for the current phase of the ICDS, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development and supported by the World Bank. Field studies in two states, combined with a literature review and one-to-one expert interactions were used to outline strategic options for communicating issues on child nutrition and early child development at national, state, district, community and family levels through the development of a BCC/IEC strategy to inform the communication component of the ICDS-IV/Reform project. The challenge of ICDS IV is that child under-nutrition is a major public health concern in India.
Renewing the Commitment to Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS (2008)
A field-based study of best practices and administration of one-to-one interactions supported by UNDP were conducted in 2007-08 to develop a shared understanding on the different strategies for HIV/AIDS mainstreaming that the National AIDS Control Programme of India may undertake. This was submitted as a strategy paper to the UNDP India office.
Commitments to achieving national health targets under various plans, major national programmes and state-level initiatives, an energized government, besides global pressure and action, may be favourably interpreted as a critical window of opportunity to achieve a turnaround in India's health sector. In order to strengthen this enabling environment and stimulate action contextually-relevant, credible and action-oriented evidence and experience is being gathered and used to generate consensus on technical and programmatic issues in key areas of concern by the Division. The aim of building informed consensus through diverse, multi-stakeholder consultative processes that are grounded in the principle of effective translation and utilization of authentic research-based evidence and best practices from the field. While full agreement or complete consensus is not possible as far as setting priorities and defining action are concerned, it remains an essential advocacy effort to strengthen community participation, confidence and commitment with support from diverse constituencies and policy influence for long term and sustained efforts. The Division is working towards leveraging the traction built through such consultative efforts and informed consensus through the creation of national communication and advocacy action plans and campaigns, including workshops and dissemination meetings.
Read project descriptions below:
Prioritising New Born and Child Health in India (2009-10)
A policy advocacy initiative on key technical and programmatic issues related to newborn and child health and survival in India, to build informed consensus and mobilise support by translating evidence to action. The programme, supported by UNICEF India involves generating contextually-relevant, credible and action-oriented evidence and experience to build consensus on key issues related to newborn and child health in India.
Lancet Health for All Series (2009-10)
In an effort to maximally leverage the evidence presented by the Lancet Health for All Series 2009 to support the scaling up of accessible and affordable health care for all persons living in India, a Communication and Advocacy Action Plan (CAAP) has been designed and developed by the Division. The goal of the CAAP is to plan for the national dissemination of the Series involving political leadership of the country, the public health community, academics and policymakers concerned about India's development.
Media Advocacy on Tobacco (2008)
A Training Workshop on Tobacco Control for State Programme Managers was held at the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi in July 2008. An interactive session on 'Advocacy: Effective strategy for positive change' by PHFI highlighted the power of health promotion messages as part of state and district level enforcement action plans. The session was followed by a group exercise on media advocacy for tobacco control, as a simulation of networking, message design and promotion opportunities.
Translating Research to Effective Policy (2007)
A two-day Global Consultation on Research for Improved Policy was organized in New Delhi in December 2007 with the Global Forum for Health Research, bringing together key stakeholders. This Consultation facilitated the evolution of a blueprint for action in the rapid translation of research into policy and offering solutions to address barriers.
People for Health
Advancing Human Resources for Health in India (2011-2014), an initiative of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and Swasti, Health Resource Centre, seeks to work towards solutions on critical issues of human resources in health. This effort is supported by the European Union as part of its ‘Investing in People’ thematic programme for development cooperation. This initiative aims to build the capacities of civil society organisations and other non-state actors in India to effectively advocate for improved health workforce policies, strategies and practices by building a comprehensive knowledge base on key human resource related issues, cutting across sectoral players and build capacities of key stakeholders to advocate, absorb and learn from each other through advocacy and cross-learning platforms.
Several healthy behaviours are sought to be ensured through legislation and implementation of legal processes, or that may be exercised or protected when individuals access justice. Increasing legal awareness and understanding of laws, the judiciary and methods for seeking help to secure basic health services for communities are intrinsically linked to the work of influencing behavior change for improved health outcomes. The Division seeks to provide both a first and a continued exposure to the concept of legal and human rights, by generating a critical mass at the community level to oppose injustice and demand improved access to primary care. Efforts are directed towards creation of a network of legal support and information resource persons that stay connected with the legal system and pursue formal and informal legal services on their own initiative.
Read project descriptions below:
Public Health Law: Implementation of the PCPNDT Act (2008-09)
The Division has just completed a large, pan-Indian study of 18 states with a focus on mapping the legal challenges in the implementation of the PCPNDT Act, given the abysmally low rate of convictions under the same in the last several years. In partnership with Prayatn, ADITHI, Vimochana and the Centre for Youth Development and Activities (CYDA), PHFI reviewed the current scenario through field work including in-depth interactions, and an analysis of existing case law documentation as filed in the states. This study has been commissioned and supported by the National Human Rights Commission through UNFPA.
Legal Empowerment of the Urban Poor (2009-10)
Under the aegis of the World Justice Project (WJP) Opportunity Fund, the division is focusing on the linkages between legal empowerment of the urban poor and the reduction of global poverty. The current project includes a consultative process and direct community-led interventions with partners in Delhi (the Urban Health Resource Centre and CareNidhi).The objective is to strengthen law and legal literacy, disseminate knowledge on legal entitlements and focus on the creation of community-level leadership to enhance access to basic social services like health and sanitation.