Can health promotion videos 'go viral'? A non-randomised, controlled, before-and-after pilot study to measure the spread and impact of local language mobile videos in Burkina Faso.
Swigart T., Hollowell J., Remes P., Lavoie M., Murray J., Belem M., Lamoukri R., Salouka S., Lamahewa K., Head R.
BACKGROUND: Mobile phones present a new health communications opportunity but use of mobile videos warrants more exploration. Our study tested a new idea: to produce health promotion videos in languages for which films have never previously been produced to see if they were widely shared. OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether the novelty of films in local languages focusing on health messages would be shared 'virally' among the target population. METHODS: A non-randomised, controlled, before-and-after study was used to evaluate the reach and impact of the intervention. We gave short health promotion videos on memory cards to distributors in eight intervention villages. Ten control villages, where no video distribution took place were randomly selected. We conducted cluster-level difference-in-difference logistic regression to assess self-reported knowledge indicators. We calculated odds ratios for intervention relative to control at baseline and endline and p-values for the change in odds ratios. RESULTS: Seven hundred and eight mothers were interviewed across all villages at baseline and 728 different mothers and 726 men were interviewed in the same villages a year later in October 2015. At endline, 32% of women and 44% of men in the intervention arm had ever seen a film on a mobile phone in Lobiri, compared to 1% of women and 2% of men in the control arm. There was a significant increase in the odds of knowing about giving Orasel to a child with diarrhoea in the intervention area relative to the control area. Awareness of the need to take a child with fever or symptoms of pneumonia to a health centre increased in the intervention area, but not significantly. CONCLUSIONS: Viral sharing of films on mobile phones has the potential to be an effective health promotion tool for communities whose languages are not served by existing mass media channels.