Communications for change: How to use text messaging as an effective behavior change campaigning tool

Produced by FrontlineSMS and Text to Change – February 2012

Available online at: 

SMS can be an extremely effective campaigning tool, helping to drive positive social change by increasing awareness of key issues and giving people the information they need to take their well- being into their own hands. SMS is ideal for these types of campaigns in many ways: it is immediate and intimate, coming straight to a device you carry with you most of the time. It works even in places where other digital communications channels fail; and, if received at the right time, it can provide an incredibly meaningful intervention. 

SMS can also be sent to many people at once, using aggregators and other service providers

However, getting SMS campaigns right is not simple. The right content, delivered at the right time in the right context, is critical. Adding the right kind of interaction to campaigns can make them more engaging, and increase their power in encouraging positive change. 

Case Study: –FrontlineSMS and Georgetown University’s Institute for Reproductive Health

FrontlineSMS, an open source software for sending and receiving SMS (short message service), to provide a rapid prototype of a new mHealth service.

This service — called CycleTel™ — empowers women by providing them with accessible reproductive health information through SMS. CycleTel facilitates the use of the Standard Days Method® (SDM) of family planning, which is a simple fertility awareness-based method of family planning that teaches a woman to identify her fertile days each menstrual cycle and avoid unprotected sex on these days to prevent pregnancy.

By making this fertility information accessible via SMS, CycleTel helps women take charge of their reproductive health and use an effective family planning method. 

Text to Change
Text to Change sets up interactive SMS campaigns, together with NGOs and companies, focused on improving healthcare and education, stimulating economic development and creating awareness on environmental issues. Moreover, all basic phones are able to receive SMS.
To overcome the illiteracy barriers they make use of Interactive Voice Response services (IVR) as well.

• Text to Change:

• FrontlineSMS: 

Assessing the mobile environment:

Factors affecting the suitability of SMS and mobile for communicating with disaster-affected communities 


Online Seminar: Globalization & health equity towards sustainable development

SDE Seminar Series towards Rio+20

Sustainable Development and Environmental Health – SDE – PAHO/WHO

Globalization & health equity towards sustainable development

Seventh Seminar: 21 March 2012 – PAHO/WHO Rio+20 (in English with simultaneous translation to Spanish)

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm – Eastern Standard Time (Washington DC USA)

To check local time in WDC against your time zone, see the World Clock at:

Website PAHO/WHO Rio+20 at:

– Globalization is affecting social determinants of health and the health status of different population groups, within and between nations.

– Globalization creates new opportunities and risks for health and equity in health;

– How can the action on the social determinants enhance those opportunities and reduce those risks?

– Could the Rio+20 Conference strengthen opportunities and minimize the risks of globalization? How?

Towards Health-Equitable Globalisation: Rights, Regulation and Redistribution

Final Report to the Commission on Social Determinants of Health WHO –

Globalization Knowledge Network: Ronald Labonté (Chair); Ted Schrecker (Hub coordinator)

Final Report Writing Group: Ronald Labonté (Lead author); Chantal Blouin; Mickey Chopra; Kelley Lee; Corinne Packer; Mike Rowson;

Ted Schrecker ;David Woodward

Available online at:

“….Globalization affects health and Social Determinants of Health through changes in social stratification, differential exposure or vulnerability, health system characteristics and differential consequences. It describes a number of key ‘clusters’ of pathways leading from globalization to changes in SDH ,provides an inventory of potential “interventions,” and provides a list of the specific research synthesis papers….”

See more on the Globalization and Health at:


12:00 Introduction: Dr. Kira Fortune, Regional Advisor on Determinants of Health, PAHO/WHO

12:05 Globalization & health equity towards sustainable development: Dr. Ronald Labonté, Canada Research Chair in Globalization & Health Equity, Institute of Population Health, and Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, at the University of Ottawa

12:30 Comments: Dr. Oscar Mujica, Regional Advisor on Social Epidemiology, PAHO/WHO

12:35 Comments: Dr. Isaac Cohen, President, INVERWAY LLC

12:40 Debate

01:00 Closing remarks

Moderator: Dr. Kira Fortune, Regional Advisor on Determinants of Health, PAHO/WHO.

How to participate:

In person:


525 23rd ST NW

Washington DC, 20037 Room 812 – 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm Eastern Time (WDC)

Online: via Elluminate link:

– Spanish room:

– English room

SDE Seminar Series towards Rio+20

“Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development.

They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature” – Principle 1 of the Rio…..” Declaration on Environment and Development, 1992.

The Rio Declaration of 1992 recognizes that healthy populations are central to human progress and sustainable development, and remains equally true today. However, the economic pillar has been prioritized at the expense of the social and environmental pillars of sustainable development over the last few decades, becoming itself a source of volatility and destabilization.

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, now offers an opportunity to re-examine the relationship between health and sustainable development. The proposed SDE Seminar series towards Rio+20 aim at contributing to this important debate by bringing different themes of relevance to sustainable development and health to inform all areas of the Pan American Organization about the themes under discussion in the Rio Conference, but also to inform public health stakeholders and other decision makers in the health sector, to better take part in the debate.

The SDE Seminar series will happen every Wednesday from 12 to 1pm (Washington time), from February 8 to June 13th.

All Seminars will be life-streamed, and opened for participation in person at the PAHO/WHO HQ, or via Elluminate, or via telephone line.

Some of the Seminars will be in English, others in Spanish.

For those who cannot follow the seminar alive, they will be available later at PAHO Rio+20 Toolkit at:



Online Seminar: Incorporating Equity in Health Technology Assessment & Evidence-based Decision Making

Free Upcoming Webinar on:

Incorporating Equity in Health Technology Assessment & Evidence-based
Decision Making

When is equity important? How do you address it your systematic review?

Join Erin Ueffing from the Canadian Cochrane Centre for this interactive

WHO Collaborating Center for Knowledge Translation and Health Technology
Assessment in Health Equity

March 12th 2012 at 13:00-14:45 (GMT-4), will be broadcast from the
University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.

To check you local time – the World Clock at:

“….Examples of equity-oriented reviews will be given, along with
strategies and methods for considering the effects of interventions
in vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.

This webinar will be presented as a segment of a workshop on Health
System Strengthening: Systematic Reviews and Health Technology
which will be hosted by the University of the West Indies Clinical
Epidemiology Unit, and conducted in collaboration with its partners and
The Canadian Society for International Health, the Pan American Health
Organization PAHO/WHO, the Cochrane Collaboration,
the University of Ottawa WHO Collaborating Centre, and Health

WHO Collaborating Center for Knowledge Translation and Health Technology
Assessment in Health Equity:

Website: <>

How to participate online:  No registration is required

To login to the Elluminate session, use the link below and type your
name on the sign in page: <>

To sign-in to the webinar, click on the corresponding URL at least 10
minutes before the scheduled start time.

The webinar room will be open as of 30 minutes before the start time;
there is not need to log in before 12:30 pm.

Contact information: Kimberly Manalili at