The majority of childhood deaths in developing countries are due to diarrheal disease, acute lower respiratory tract infections, malaria, measles and malnutrition. The Manoff Group has applied tools and concepts from social marketing and communication and been a pioneer in improving child health and development. Our work has concentrated on evaluating and extending knowledge and programs for the prevention of childhood illness; treatment and care of the sick child; and increasing the public demand, understanding and use of health services.
To prevent child deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases, the Manoff Group has worked in numerous countries over the past 25 years to understand and address barriers to higher immunization coverage—which frequently depend on the convenience, reliability and friendliness of vaccination services. With partners, we helped with national qualitative/quantitative studies of barriers to immunization in the Dominican Republic and Mozambique. These studies led to new training and service improvements in the DR and to communication initiatives and new guidelines for mobile brigades in Mozambique.
Community-based child health
During decades of community health work, Manoff Group and country
partners have developed an effective model for preventing, referring
and treating child health problems at the community level (in
effect, operationalizing C-IMCI). The approach utilizes a well-trained
group of community volunteers who weigh every child under age
two at monthly sessions. This is followed by an assessment of
the child's health and caregiver practices. Trained volunteers
provided individually tailored counseling to caregivers who
commit to try one or more new practices. The model includes
a simple but effective information system that tracks a small
number of key indicators. Feedback on these indicators is shared
regularly with communities to keep families informed about the
status of their children's health and to stimulate community
actions to address shared problems. This model has been adopted
nation-wide in Honduras, in other Central American countries
and to a number of African countries.
Health service utilization
The Manoff Group has helped improve health service utilization in numerous countries. In-depth consultative research with both users and providers of services is the first step in understanding their motivations, problems, capabilities and constraints. Through the CHANGE Project, we worked with Project HOPE on a multi-country initiative to develop home-based reminder materials (Mother Reminder Materials) on child health danger signs and the urgency of seeking appropriate care. We have also worked extensively on adherence related to women taking daily iron tablets (Indonesia, Pakistan, Bolivia and other countries), child feeding (in dozens of countries), and hygiene recommendations (in various countries) and treatment instructions (Guatemala).
Manoff staff have worked on the challenges of distribution and sale and appropriate use of mosquito nets in several countries. We oversaw TIPs in Eastern Province, Zambia, that tested both different modes of obtaining nets and families' willingness and ability to use them as intended (hung properly, for mothers and young children, every night all year round).