A fundamental requirement for increasing and sustaining demand for health services is harmonizing supply and demand activities. Collaboration between SBCC and service delivery partners will ensure coordinated design and rollout of communication strategies, branding, provider training, commodities and supplies. This means that demand is generated for services that are currently available and adequately resourced, and that services are introduced once the intended audience understands their importance and is ready and willing to access them. Doing this well requires service delivery and SBCC partners to coordinate timelines and locations.
Demand creation activities should not take place before the following service-related supply concerns are in place:
- Getting the facility prepared for the new or expanded service – Are providers trained? Are the appropriate materials in place? Is signage up to direct individuals to the correct service delivery point? Are job aids complete, and have the providers been adequately trained to use them?
- Preparing providers (and all personnel) for an increased workload – If demand creation is done well, it will increase client load at designated clinics and add to providers’ workloads if new staff have not or cannot be hired. If providers are unable to meet the increased workload, they may turn clients away. Consider provider motivational techniques, such as rewarding high performers with promotional items (caps, t-shirts, mugs), “high flier” and “provider of the month” recognition, or clinic parties and events to recognize hard work. When demand increased for early infant male circumcision in Tanzania through the project’s peer promoters beyond the level of existing capacity, providers resisted. Jhpiego created motivational incentives for providers and reduced the number of days the services were available each week. It is important to communicate these changes to the SBCC partner. More information on AIDSFREE VMMC in Tanzania
- Making sure necessary commodities are available – Does pricing for the service and/or commodity reflect what is known about consumers’ ability and willingness to pay?
At the same time, SBCC partners need to ensure that:
- Community mobilizers and interpersonal communication agents, drama groups, traditional leaders and opinion leaders are adequately deployed and active in the target area as soon as services are ready
- Communication materials clearly guide clients to the correct facilities – or to the correct departments within the facility – at the correct times
Services and SBCC teams alike need to ensure that they have management systems in place to address quality concerns and client feedback. SBCC partners should be able to respond quickly to service delivery feedback about the mobilization activities. To manage this coordination with service delivery partners on a consistent basis, CHC and KURHI both deployed regional or district-based SBCC coordinators to meet regularly with service partners (weekly, monthly and as needed) to develop real-time strategies for harmonizing demand and supply.