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Brothers for Life Advertising Campaign Drives Demand for Medical Male Circumcision

Download the the Brothers For Life MMC TV advert

Find out where you can undergo the MMC procedure, with a free SMS to 43740<--break->

Free medical male circumcision (MMC) services have become an important component of government's multi-faceted response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic - but they will not make a meaningful difference if men do not take up the offer.

Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (JHHESA), with funding from USAID/PEPFAR, and in partnership with Sonke Gender Justice, Cell Life, CHAPS, ANOVA Health, under the banner of Brothers for Life, together with the South African National AIDS Council and the National Department of Health have devise a comprehensive, innovative demand-creation strategy to support the roll-out of MMC in South Africa.

Pivotal to this strategy is the creation of a database of services around South Africa, which uses GPS technology to enable people to access their closest MMC site. All men have to do is SMS "MMC" to 43740; they receive a return SMS, follow the prompts and receive the details of their nearest MMC service provider. The SMS service is free of charge to users.

JHHESA and the Department of Health are currently also working on an HIV counselling and testing (HCT) database to add to the SMS service.

The SMS service will from Friday, 17 February 2012 be marketed to South Africa using the following channels:

A television commercial, telling the story of one man who underwent circumcision after receiving important information about the health benefits of MMC. The commercial prominently displays the MMC SMS number

An outdoor media campaign, featuring three executions - MMC, featuring the man from the commercial and others who have been circumcised; couples HIV counselling and testing; and condoms. Again, the SMS number will feature prominently, as well as web contact addresses. This aspect of the overall campaign will be targeted at audiences in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Free State, and will also feature in-taxi branding in over 100 minibus taxis on popular routes

Printed materials, specifically a brochure to promote MMC and also featuring the SMS number. It is available in six of the official languages, and funding is being secured to produce the brochure in the other five official languages.

A further brochure, providing men with information on how to care for their circumcision wound, has also been developed. This brochure is currently being translated into all the official languages. A second SMS number has been created where men who are circumcised can opt and receive regular updates on caring for their wound and reminders for follow-up visits to the clinic. This number will only be marketed through the clinics where MMC is offered

An MMC toolkit has been developed to support group counselling and/or community outreach. The toolkit addresses the sexual and behavioural dimensions of HIV, sexually-transmitted infections, family planning (including male and female condoms) and MMC. This toolkit is printed on material has a light aluminum frame and is easily portable in a bag. Training fieldworkers in the use of the toolkit is avaialble

Social mobilisation, being developed by JHHESA and Sonke Gender Justice to support sites in developing Community Action Teams and Community Action Plans in support of demand-creation activities in the provinces. This includes supporting regional partners in community mapping, training in the use of social mobilisation approaches and the use of the MMC toolkit

"While hundreds of thousands of men have already enthusiastically supported government's free MMC offering since it was launched in mid-2010, for MMC to properly succeed we need them to take it up in their millions," says JHHESA managing director Richard Delate.

"To achieve this aim, it is necessary to significantly scale up communications that drive demand for MMC services, in ways that are accessible and easy to use for men. The central aspect of Brothers for Life's MMC demand-creation campaign - the free SMS-based service - will do exactly that, quickly and conveniently."

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