The audience for which the public health campaign is targeted is composed of school going children. The public health campaign on hand washing targets the school going children because they are easily accessible in large numbers and in one area. The hand washing campaign does not limit to children of a certain grade. On the contrary, the hand washing campaign is designed to reach all the children from the lowest to the highest grade. The choice of this target group is influenced by the fact that hand washing prevents many communicable diseases. It is estimated that hand washing reduced the incidence rate of diarrhea diseases by 31% (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). It is also estimated that hand washing reduced diarrhea diseases in immune-compromised people by 58% while also reducing respiratory diseases by 21% (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). These statistics and the fact that the school going children are easily accessible through their schools made them the target audience for the hand washing campaign.
Involvement of the Target Audience
The involvement of the target audience in a public health campaign is vital to the success of the campaign. Among other reasons, involving the target audience enhances learning, encourages them to take responsibility and enhances the sustainability of the campaign (Okigbo, 2013). Rather than sit passively and receive the information, the target audience can be used to disseminate the information. For instance, a select number of children can be trained on the importance of hand washing, effective hand washing techniques and the indications for hand washing. The same children can then be used to disseminate the information to other children in the same and other schools. Alternatively, the target audience can be involved in brainstorming ideas on how school going children can be influenced to wash their hands more often. By generating the ideas, the target audience not only learns, but also develops a sense of ownership, an element that leads to sustainability (Leibrecht et al., 2002).
Promoting Public Relations
Public relation is vital for the success of the public health campaign (Scutchfield & Keck, 2003). One of ways through which public relation can be promoted to the target audience is tailoring the messages in the information, education, and communication material in a way that they communicate effectively and meaningfully to the target audience. This implies creating messages that are not only appealing to school going children, but also messages that are easily comprehensible to this group. Alternatively, one can promote public relations by exploring speaking opportunities with the target audience. Speaking opportunities allow one to disseminate vital information pertinent to the public health campaign to the target audience. In order to augment the effectiveness of this approach, one can get the campaign to be endorsed by a person who is regarded influential by the target audience. For instance, a celebrity who is famous and popular among this demographic can be contacted to endorse the hand washing campaign. Such an endorsement will contribute towards the assimilation of information and subsequent behavior change (Lymer & Carney, 2015).
Targeted Behavior Change
Public health campaigns designed from a preventive approach seek to change behavior in the target audience (Selendy, 2011). The expectations are that through information, education, and communication, the targeted audience will drop the poor health habits and adopt healthy behavior. The hand washing public campaign is expected to achieve behavior change among the school going children. One of the expected behaviors is the frequent washing of hands (Selendy, 2011). There are many indications for hand washing. The public health campaign will give information on when the children should wash hands. It is expected that the children will wash their hands whenever it is indicated. Additionally, it is expected that the children will embrace the importance of hand washing (Eshetu, 2013). The change of behavior is predicated on the understanding of the importance of the concepts informing the behavior change. After education on the importance of hand washing, the public health campaign expects to improve the awareness and understanding of the concept of hand washing.
The involvement of stakeholders in activities involving the public is not only wise, it is also recommended. Stakeholders have an influence on what happens in their communities. Public health programs have numerous stakeholders whose input is important for the success of the campaigns (Reed et al., 2003). Some of the potential stakeholders for the hand washing campaign include the local public health officers. Public health officers often have health programs running in their local areas. It is necessary to involve them to avoid duplication of efforts or campaigns that are antagonistic. Besides, their involvement adds credibility to the campaign. Other potential stakeholders in the campaign include the teachers in the select schools targeted by the campaign (Ferron, Morgan & O'Reilly, 2000). The involvement of the children in these schools is subject to approval from the school administration. Additionally, the teachers in these schools can participate in helping disseminate the information long after the hand washing campaign is done.
Stakeholder Impact on Planning or Implementation
As highlighted above, stakeholders have an influence on what happens in their community. Due to this influence, stakeholders can have a positive or negative impact on the public campaign. Stakeholders can stifle the implementation of the hand washing campaign depending on the approach to stakeholder management. For instance, the school administration can deny access to the children. This would stifle the implementation of the program because the target audience for the public health campaign is the school going children. The public health officers in the area could help in the planning and implementation of the program by offering the resources and networking infrastructure they have. It is for this reason that stakeholder management is vital to the success of the public health program. Depending on the relationship created with the stakeholders, they can either assist the program or elect challenges (Bourne, 2009).
Given that the target audience for the public health program is composed of school going children, the children are best accessible in the school environment. However, it is not expected that the school administration will allow its programs to be disrupted, even for the public health program. This elects a challenge to fit the public health program into the busy schedule of the schools. It is not a barrier because it is a situation that can be navigable through stakeholder engagement. Given the gravity of the diseases that the hand washing campaign seeks to prevent, it is possible that the stakeholders can be convinced into facilitating the availability of the students for the purposes of the hand washing campaign.
Bourne, L. (2009). Stakeholder relationship management: A maturity model for organisational implementation. Farnham, Surrey: Gower.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Show Me the Science - Why Wash Your Hands? Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/why-handwashing.html
Eshetu, G. (2013). Involving children for hand washing behavior change: Repeated message delivery to foster action. S.l.: Anchor Academic Publishing.
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Okigbo, C. (2013). Strategic Urban Health Communication. New York, NY: Springer New York.
Reed, B., Water, Engineering and Development Centre, & WEDC Conference. (2003). Sustainable environmental sanitation and water services: Proceedings of the 28th WEDC Conference, Kolkata (Calcutta), India, 2002. Loughborough: Water, Engineering and Development Centre.
Scutchfield, F. D., & Keck, C. W. (2003). Principles of public health practice. Clifton Park: Thomson/Delmar Learning.
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