[We’re pleased to welcome Mary Dickey of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Dickey recently published “Program Evaluation of a Sanitation Marketing Campaign Among the Bai in China: A Strategy for Cysticercosis Reduction” with Robert John, Helene Carabin, and Xiao-Nong Zhou in Social Marketing Quarterly.]
I saw first-hand the problems with sanitation through my involvement in community development work in rural China. Although emphasis is often placed on new technology in sanitation, I observed that promoting behavioral change was the real challenge. Poor sanitation causes many diseases and one that was of special interest to me was cysticercosis. Cysticercosis is a leading cause of epilepsy among the Bai minority group in Yunnan, China.
I found that many among the Bai already understood the relationship between sanitation and disease but that understanding did not seem to affect toilet construction and use. Since health education alone did not seem to be an answer, we researched the use of sanitation marketing among the Bai. This research reveals how formative data was collected to help researchers understand not only the sanitation situation but also the thoughts and opinions of the Bai related to toilet use. This data was used to design a social marketing campaign to promote toilets with the specific goal of reducing cysticercosis. The results of the campaign in two intervention villages are compared with the results of a more conventional government promotion in two comparison villages. This is the first report of the use of social marketing of toilets in China. Although more research is needed, this program evaluation indicates that sanitation marketing in rural China is an appropriate approach to increase sanitation coverage.
You can read “Program Evaluation of a Sanitation Marketing Campaign Among the Bai in China: A Strategy for Cysticercosis Reduction” from Social Marketing Quarterly for free by clicking here. Don’t forget to sign up for e-alerts and get all the latest news and research from Social Marketing Quarterly sent directly to your inbox!