Using SMS to Increase Uptake of Voluntary Male Circumcision

Client: CHAMP
UNICEF and the Zambia National HIV/AIDS Council
IDinsight service:
Impact evaluation
Additional resources: Journal Abstract

The Problem

New opportunities are available to reach people with mobile phones in developing countries and influence behavior, but the SMS medium is still largely untested. Zambia’s National HIV/AIDS Council partners with UNICEF and CHAMP to run the U-Report platform–a service to give young people access to information on HIV/AIDS and STIs–with over 60,000 self-enrolled participants. Policymakers were interested in seeing if a sustained campaign on U-Report could influence voluntary medial male circumcision (VMMC) uptake.

The project involves large-scale mobile data via SMS surveys.

Evidence Needs

Two separate SMS campaigns consisted of sending 21 messages to treatment group participants over five months. The messages provided information on VMMC and tried to spur participants to action. All participants could also send confidential questions to 24-hour SMS counselors

IDinsight Service

IDinsight supported intervention design and designed an impact evaluation to measure the campaign’s impact on VMMC take-up; and secondarily, intention to go for VMMC. SMS surveys were used to collect self-reported data at two-month intervals over six months, and a field team collected client data from health facilities and partners to verify self-reports.

Qualitative, semi-structured phone interviews were also conducted with selected participants.