India’s MTV Nishedh Successfully Delivered Public Health Messages Through Entertainment
In India’s “edutainment” series MTV Nishedh, life-saving messages about health topics were woven into the plotlines of a gripping drama for young people. Among the goals of this show and the campaign that accompanied it were to illustrate the diversity and benefits of modern contraceptive methods, to show that abortion can be a safe and legitimate choice, and to educate viewers about how to identify and avoid spreading tuberculosis.
A 3-wave research study was conducted to measure how successfully these messages were absorbed. With the third wave now complete, here’s what MTV Nishedh accomplished:
Higher rates of contraceptive use. Before the campaign’s launch, just 37% of respondents reported that they were using contraception. After the campaign concluded, 69% of those who had heard of the campaign reported using contraception in the past 3 months – an 87% increase.
Condom use doubled. Prior to the campaign, 27% of respondents were using condoms. Following the campaign, that percentage rose to 55% among those aware of MTV Nishedh.
Awareness of safe abortion practices increased substantially. Pre-campaign, 19% of respondents answered correctly that a doctor could prescribe a surgical procedure or pills to safely end an unwanted pregnancy. Post-campaign, 24% of those aware of MTV Nishedh chose this response – a 26% increase.
Abortion stigma declined slightly. About half (51%) of respondents agreed with the statement, “a woman who has an abortion brings shame to her family” before the campaign. Among those aware of the campaign, agreement fell slightly to 49%.
Slight improvement in tuberculosis awareness. Among respondents who had seen the campaign, an average of 66% were aware of tuberculosis, compared with 62% of respondents overall. Though 44% reported knowing someone who experienced TB and 31% had it themselves, education around infection and transmission of the illness remained mixed.