On April 27, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) celebrated the successful completion of its five-year social behavior change research activity – Breakthrough Research Nigeria – with a day devoted to disseminating best practices and lessons learned on factors that influence the adoption and practice of health behaviors, which can help inform national and state level health policies and interventions that seek to increase demand for health services.
Breakthrough Research is USAID’s global flagship social and behavioral change (SBC) research and evaluation project. Implemented in Nigeria since 2019, Breakthrough Research Nigeria (BR-Nigeria) made significant contributions to shaping the implementation and adaptation of USAID-funded SBC interventions in the country.
USAID’s BR-Nigeria implemented a suite of research and evaluation studies using quantitative and qualitative methodologies to respond to SBC questions on program-effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. The studies addressed a range of behaviors such as: antenatal care attendance, use of child spacing methods, use of insecticide treated nets, and infant breastfeeding in Kebbi, Sokoto, and Zamfara states.
The studies examined behavioral trends among a consistent sample of approximately 3,000 women with children under the age of two, and their spouses, within wards targeted for SBC program intervention in 2019, 2021, and 2022. The studies found that using an integrated behavior change approach improved prompt treatment for fever, the uptake of malaria tests, and an increase in treatment adherence. Overall, the research found that across study states, women were greatly influenced by men when making choices about seeking care and treatment for their sick children. The research study results will shape the ongoing primary health care implementation at the work plan level and shape future SBC research.
USAID’s BR-Nigeria also implemented three other qualitative studies, including a community capacity strengthening study, public sector capacity strengthening study, and advocacy core group assessment study. BR-Nigeria developed more than 30 knowledge products including program research and policy briefs, peer-reviewed journal articles and publications, blog posts, and infographics – Breakthrough Action + Research
“We are proud that the Breakthrough Research activity generated valuable insights that will continue to influence programs and investments on newborn and child health, nutrition, family planning, reproductive health, and malaria in Nigeria,” said Sara Werth, USAID/Nigeria Deputy Mission Director in her opening remarks.