Promote Health-Seeking Behaviors and Create Demand for Care

We support vulnerable populations, particularly women and youth, in demanding and seeking equitable access to respectful quality care.

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Transforming maternal and child health outcomes require more than simply improving the quality or availability of health care services. We must also address the health-seeking behaviors and practices of individuals and communities and the norms that underpin them.

Societal attitudes, socio-cultural norms, access to resources, and personal knowledge shape whether or when a woman may seek care for herself or her child. Attitudes and social norms also impact care-seeking behavior among men. Communication and interaction among couples, families, health care providers, and the broader community influence the uptake of health services and the adoption of health-seeking behaviors and healthy practices.

MOMENTUM’s Approach

We increase individual and community demand for equitable, respectful, quality maternal, newborn, and child health services, voluntary family planning, and reproductive health (MNCH) care. We do this by providing tailored technical assistance to local institutions—including facility-based providers and community health structures—to develop, adapt, and scale up evidence-based social and behavior change interventions.


Develop new demand generation models

MOMENTUM partners with countries to create and test new social and behavior change models that address key barriers to the uptake of health care, such as socio-cultural norms that portray women as unequal to men, lack of access to and control over economic resources, and limited roles in broader decision-making. Examples of interventions may include:

  • Partnering with youth-led organizations to overcome barriers to health care use through innovative youth engagement approaches such as using social media.
  • Using culturally appropriate techniques to reach men where they gather and develop demand creation messaging that fosters gender equality.
  • Engaging influential religious leaders and interfaith coalitions to serve as champions for service delivery uptake and health promotion.


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Scale up social accountability approaches for health

Social accountability encourages communities and civil society to engage constructively with health care providers and holds government officials and health care facilities accountable to ensure citizens receive promised health services, health care responsiveness, and respectful care.1 In turn, MOMENTUM works with ministries of health to identify and adopt evidence-based social accountability models within their local health systems.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images/Images of Empowerment;

Engage multisectoral partners for demand generation and referrals

MOMENTUM works with countries and communities to identify strategic platforms to amplify social- and behavioral- change messaging outside of the health sector, such as programs in education, youth development, and climate change. This approach helps increase the reach, coverage, and saturation of health messaging and referrals to health facilities. For example, community groups with highly engaged female and youth participants can serve as a voice for promoting MNCH care and voluntary family planning and reproductive health care messaging.

Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images/Images of Empowerment

Contribute to the evidence base for social and behavior change

MOMENTUM advances country- and global-level learning on effective approaches to increase uptake of a range of health care. We work with local institutions and partners to test and adapt state-of-the-art strategies for generating demand for care among individuals and communities in various contexts. We also work closely with USAID global social and behavior change program activities, such as the Breakthrough ACTION and RESEARCH project, and local implementing partners to share best practices for promoting health-seeking behaviors and generating demand for care among USAID partner countries.

Karen Kasmauski/MCSP


  1. Victoria Boydell and Jill Keysbury, “Social Accountability: What are the Lessons for Improving Family Planning and Reproductive Health Programs?: A Review of the Literature,” (Oct 2014)

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