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Communication, ideation and contraceptive use in Burkina Faso: an application of the propensity score matching method
  1. Stella Babalola, PhD, Senior Program Evaluation Officer and
  2. Claudia Vonrasek, MPH, Senior Program Officer
  1. Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programs, Baltimore, MD, USA
  1. Correspondence to Stella Babalola, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programs, 111 Market Place, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA. E-mail: SBABALOL{at}


Objective The study aim was to assess the effects of a multi-component communication campaign that promoted contraceptive use in Burkina Faso.

Methods This was a cross-sectional survey conducted in 2001 involving 1421 women of reproductive age from Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso. Participants during the 2001 survey were randomly selected from 54 enumeration areas that were covered during the 1999 Demographic and Health Survey. The propensity score matching (PSM) technique was the analytical method used to assess the effects of the campaign.

Results More than three-quarters of the respondents reported exposure to at least one example of campaign material. Compared with no exposure, high campaign exposure is associated with an adjusted increase of 21.8 percentage points in the proportion of women currently using modern contraceptive methods. Similarly, low exposure is associated with a 7.3 percentage point increase over no exposure. The campaign is also associated with increased knowledge about contraceptives and more favourable attitudes towards family planning.

Conclusions The multiple-component nature of the campaign makes it easy for many members of the target audience to hear consistent messages from a variety of sources. This is a key element responsible for the documented effectiveness of the campaign. Despite its limitations, the PSM technique is a straightforward method that should be used more often to assess the effects of communication programmes.

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