Defining Health Campaigns and Health Campaign Effectiveness

View the brief

The Health Campaign Effectiveness Coalition published this technical brief in September 2020. Its purpose is twofold: to provide an introduction to the broad evidence base on the ways that campaigns are defined, the circumstances under which they are used, and the metrics of effectiveness used to reflect the success of campaigns; and to stimulate discussions among country programs, donors, and implementing partners to improve campaign and population health outcomes and to share information across varied programs that use campaigns.

Key messages:

• Health campaigns are time-bound, intermittent activities that address specific epidemiological challenges, expediently fill delivery gaps, or provide surge coverage for health interventions. Campaigns are an important strategy to address high priority diseases (e.g., neglected tropical diseases [NTDs], malaria, polio and other vaccine preventable diseases [VPDs]), and malnutrition (e.g., vitamin A supplementation) across different geographic areas.

• Health campaigns are complex and can be implemented for a short- or long-term need, can be reactive or proactive, and can target a community or subnational/national population. While campaigns have the benefit of targeting specific health needs, multiple campaigns might result in strategic and operational inefficiencies and inequities that can strain health systems, burden health care workers, weaken health services, and limit their long-term health impact.

• Measures of health campaign effectiveness have typically focused on coverage of the intervention’s target population. Yet, there are major data quality and measurement issues around coverage.

• It is important to consider other measures of campaign effectiveness, besides coverage indicators. These indicators should capture both demand-side campaign outcomes (beneficiary acceptability, awareness, and satisfaction) and supply-side campaign outcomes (health worker acceptability, equity, and efficiency). A more encompassing understanding of effectiveness has the potential to improve overall campaign outcomes, enhance population health, and result in stronger, more efficient, and more equitable health systems.