'Why is this man smiling?" Vasectomy Promotion Campaign
In 2003, the Ghana Health Service, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in Ghana, and EngenderHealth (under its former cooperative agreement) collaborated on a pilot program in Accra and Kumasi metropolitan areas to explore whether vasectomy is a viable contraceptive choice when site interventions that focus on issues of quality and access are coupled with effective and strategic interventions aimed at public awareness. The aim was to make this method available and put the choice into the hands of Ghanaian couples. The ACQUIRE Project later joined the initiative by providing technical assistance to design and carry out the communications campaign and community outreach and to evaluate the results of the project and the supply-demand approach.
To stimulate demand for services, marketing/communications approaches were combined with community mobilization activities. A communications strategy was developed, based on results from qualitative research conducted by EngenderHealth in 2001 on clients’ perceptions of vasectomy. Among the key findings from the assessment were:
(1) Users of vasectomy were very satisfied with the method.
(2) Nonusers had very negative attitudes toward vasectomy.
(3) Men who were aware of vasectomy frequently had incomplete or incorrect information about the procedure.
(4) The primary misconception was that vasectomy is “castration.”
Based on these findings, a campaign was designed to:
- Create awareness of and a positive image for vasectomy
- Provide correct information on vasectomy—NSV in particular—and educate both men and women about its benefits
- Increase awareness of the names and locations of sites where NSV services are available Encourage acceptance of vasectomy by using testimonials from satisfied clients.
The campaign included print materials as well as a television campaign to provide correct information on no scalpel vasectomy (NSV) and to educate both men and women on its benefits. The commercials sought to create a positive image for NSV, and to encourage acceptance of NSV by using a "testimonial approach" featuring satisfied users. Two different commercials were produced and aired. Both commercials shared the same communications objective and featured the campaign theme line of...."Why is this man smiling? Vasectomy: Give yourself a permanent smile".