Dr. Abu S Shonchoy
Dr. Chikako Yamauchi
Dr. Resmaan Hussam
Improved hygiene practices have direct links with the reduction of diarrheal incidents and other water-borne diseases (like impetigo). Simple practices of washing hands with soaps (especially after toilets and before meals), wearing footwear, avoidance of open defecation, and proper water treatment and preservation have proven impacts on health outcomes. But unfortunately, in Bangladesh like other developing countries these simple preventative health and hygiene habits are substantial, and take-up is negligible. A very negligible percentage of people shown by UNICEF 2011 who used these preventative measures to improve health outcomes was only 54.7. This statistic is considerably lower in remote rural, such as River Island in Northern Bangladesh, locally known as ‘Chars’. Many studies found, little to no effect of traditional hygiene campaigns on the hygiene-related behavioral changes of people.
Lacking diversity and innovation of the traditional hand washing movement, one potential way to design a more effective campaign that may induce large-scale behavioral changes is through the use of mass communication visual media.
Considering the above issue, Dr. Abu S Shonchoy, Dr. Resmaan Hussam, and Dr. Chikako Yamauchi are jointly conducting a research work in Northern Bangladesh based on Randomized Control Trial (RCT) design.
We in a partner collaboration with Yale University and National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) implementing the project.
With the rise of cellular phone users in Bangladesh, the mobile phone-based platform has become a useful vehicle for providing various services to poorer and remote populations. One potential but untapped avenue of mobile phones is providing hygiene information through visual media.
In this study, researchers intend to imply a mobile phone-based platform to enable people to view digital contents of hygiene-related awareness information amid their desired entertainment videos directly on their mobile phones in the form of cartoons, adverts, dramas, and clippings.
The study proceeds in two stages: first, we establish a proof of concept of the impact of this innovative information delivery system on hygiene (particularly hand washing behavior; second, we explore (1) variation in the subsequent frequency (timing) and intensity of these media stimuli and (2) the use of existing social groups (microcredit groups, self-help groups, neighbors and school classmate) to build upon lessons learned through an initial media campaign.
The former provides school attendance information to parents and the latter exploits the endowment effect.