Technology Yes-But Behavioural Change Too!
Technological inventions and development in global health are capable and very likely to grab the head lines- and in fact do constitute the main element in many of these cases. However, basic behavioural change is a determining factor in the successful implementation of any technological or innovative project.
Behavioural change is a central objective of Public Health intervention with an increased focus on prevention prior to the onset of the disease. Behavioural changes play a very crucial part in the fight and eradication of diseases. This is good news in light of all the health challenges that now face us: a very few which can be tacked by technology alone.
In the control of guinea worm in Africa for instance, families learned to filter their water with utmost care and precision in the fight against deaths from dehydrating diarrheal disease of infants and little children. Mothers in Bangladesh and Egypt learnt how to mix a simple salt-and –sugar solution and even taught their grown up girls.
Also in Poland and South Africa, low standing patterns of cigarette consumption have been on the low through a combination of legal measures, taxation and communication efforts. In Nigeria where a huge success in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus was recorded: there were notable behavioural changes, where people practiced regular hand washing, the use of hand sanitizers were rampant, body and hand contacts were minimized. These precautionary measures and behavioural changes were put in place to avoid its spread and it worked.
Ruth Levine et al: Case Studies in Global Health; Millions Saved 2007