Over the last few decades, there have been significant improvements in the health and well-being of women, adolescents and children, however, gains have been uneven and inequalities persist.
Social, behavioural and community engagement (SBCE) interventions address the capabilities of individuals, families, communities and health providers to better identify and respond to health needs. Such interventions are considered fundamental to realising improved health and well-being for women, children and adolescents. SBCE interventions include interpersonal communication and health education activities, delivery of health messages, engagement through mass and social media, interventions that address financial barriers (including cash transfers) and interventions to formalise community participation in health planning and programming.
To support the implementation of effective and sustainable programmes and direct research funding to where it is most needed, decision makers need access to existing high-quality evidence on intervention effectiveness. 3ie has recently produced two evidence gap maps (EGMs) that cover SBCE interventions across a spectrum of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health.
To bring the findings of these two projects together, the World Health Organisation (WHO) commissioned 3ie to produce a policy brief. The brief highlights the main findings and common limitations related to SBCE interventions across the two EGMs and summarises areas for future research.
The brief pulls together findings from the following two EGM reports:
We find that while a considerable amount of evidence already exists for SBCE interventions for RMNCH and ASRH, there are still critical gaps in the impact evaluation and systematic review evidence bases.
We identified a number of limitations common across studies in this literature. These should be considered in the design and reporting of future impact evaluations and systematic reviews to help improve and advance research on SBCE interventions:
Studies rarely report on outcomes related to the enabling environment, such as health provider attitudes and communication skills, or social norms;
Analysis of how SBCE intervention effects vary by vulnerable or marginalised populations is frequently missing;
M-health and other ICTs play an increasingly stronger role in SBCE programming, but there is limited evaluation evidence available;
The usefulness of studies is often limited by inadequate reporting, including in descriptions of context of the evaluation, interventions and study design;
Few of the studies included qualitative components or process evaluation
It was rare for studies to include information on cost or cost effectiveness analysis;
There are very few evaluations of interventions in francophone African countries, despite evidence of SBCE programming in this region; and
A significant share of the systematic review evidence base has methodological limitations. These limitations include unclear inclusion criteria for interventions and health topics, no use of independent screening or data extraction, missing risk of bias assessments of included studies and use of vote-counting approaches.
Use the links below to access 3ie’s interactive EGM platform
The brief is based on the evidence gap map of interventions that aim to address the root causes of irregular migration in low- and middle-income countries. This map was commissioned by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) through USAID’s project, Addressing the Root Causes of Irregular Migration in Guatemala.
The authors summarize the impact evaluations and systematic reviews of agriculture-led growth interventions to support decision-making in global agricultural development. This work was commissioned by USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security.
This brief is based on an evidence gap map that examines the effects of nutrition-sensitive agriculture interventions across food systems in low-and middle-income countries. This work has been commissioned by USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security.
This brief is based on an evidence gap map of interventions that aim to strengthen resilience against shocks, stressors, and recurring crises in low-and middle-income countries. This map was commissioned by USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security.
This brief is based on a systematic map of research that measures the association between select water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) outcomes and high-level development outcomes in prosperity, stability, and resilience. This brief has been commissioned by USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security.