Covering the Last Mile: A Challenge in Health Communication in India?

  • Arbind SinhaEmail author
Part of the Global Transformations in Media and Communication Research - A Palgrave and IAMCR Series book series (GTMCR)


Like any other developing nation, India, has long recognized the need to strengthen its health communication system to improve the country’s health indicators. There has been a paradigm shift in the role assigned to health communication, from awareness creation to evidence based behavior change. Much has been done, but the goal of “health for all” remains elusive. Studies indicate that an overemphasis on media, which has had least impact at grassroots level and has not been able to improve the communication skills of the frontline functionaries. This chapter argues that in the changing media scenario, the Indian health communication system has to create an appropriate human channel of communication (HCC) that could have wider reach, better access and added credibility, especially among the marginalized societies. While reviewing the health system of India, policies on health communication and implementation details at ground level, this chapter will examine bridging health communication gaps and connecting the dots between the government, the functionaries, the media and the target population.


Family Planning Health Communication Health Program Family Planning Program Behavior Change Communication 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Advani, S. (2011, November). Health figures. Entrepreneur., 40–43).Google Scholar
  2. Agarwal, S.P., Dhingra, S., & Chauhan, L.S. (2005). The role of IEC in the RNTCP. Referred in “Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program in India: The need to strengthen” (2013), Eds. Ramesh Verma, Pardeep Khanna, and Bharti Mehta. International Journal of Preventive Medicine (2013), 4(1), 1–5. Available from:
  3. Agrawal, B. C. (1978). Televison comes to village: An evaluation of SITE. Bangalore: Indian Space Research Organisation.Google Scholar
  4. Atkin, C. K. (1979). Research evidence on mass mediated health communication campaign. In D. Nimmo (Ed.), Communication yearbook 3 (pp. 655–668). New Jersey: Transaction Books.Google Scholar
  5. Bhatia, V., S. Puri, C. Mangat, H. Swami. (2009). An intervention study to enhance AIDS awareness among underprivileged population in Chandigarh. The Internet Journal of Health, 11(1), 1–12.Google Scholar
  6. Healthy People, 2010.Google Scholar
  7. Gopalkrishnan and Agnani, Manohar. (2001). State Health Policy for M.P., Rajiv Gandhi Mission: Occasional Papers, Document: 8. (From :,++Rajiv++Gandhi++Mission:++Occasional++Papers,++Document:++8,++March++2001&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=5ouTVsG0E4zkuQTS9ZzIBg)
  8. Gore, M. S. (1979). A critical assessment of the studies relating to the SITE. Bombay: Tata Institute of Social Sciences.Google Scholar
  9. Goswami, S. (2007). Media and communication policies in post-independence India: Special reference to health communication. Conference paper for the media, communication and cultural study association. Salford: Salford University.Google Scholar
  10. Healthy People 2010. USA: Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S.Department of Health and Human Services, from:,2014admin .
  11. Klapper, J. T. (1960). The effects of mass communication. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  12. Kotler, P. (1972). Marketing management: Analysis, planning, and control. New York: Prentic-Hall.Google Scholar
  13. Kotler, P., & Zaltman, G. (1971). Social marketing: An approach to planned social change. Journal of Marketing, 35(3), 2–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kreps, L. K., Bonaguro, E. W., & Query, J. L. (1998). The history and development of the field of health communication. In L. D. Jackson & B. K. Duffy (Eds.), Health communication research: Guide to developments and directions (pp. 1–15). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  15. Ley, P., & Spelman, M. S. (1967). Communicating with patients. London: Staples Press.Google Scholar
  16. Maibach, E. W., Kreps, G. L., & Bonaguro, E. W. (1993). Developing strategic communication campaigns for HIV/AIDS prevention. In S. Ratzan (Ed.), AIDS: Effective health communication for the 90s. Washington, DC: Taylor and Francis. Google Scholar
  17. Marranco, Jess (2014). Human to human marketing: a trend for 2015 and beyond. HubSpot. Cambridge. Retrieved on Sept. 16, 2016.
  18. McCombs, M., & Shaw, D. L. (1972). The agenda-setting function of the mass media. Public Opinion Quarterly, 36, 176–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mehrabian, A. (1972). Nonverbal communication. Transaction Publishers. New Jersey. Google Scholar
  20. Mendelsohn, H. (1973). Some reasons why information campaigns can succeed. Public Opinion Quarterly, 37, 50–61. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. MoHFW (2012). Rural Health Statistics in India 2012. New Delhi: Government of India.Google Scholar
  22. National Social Watch Coalision. (2007). Citizens’ report on governance and development 2007. New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  23. Prahalad, C. K., & Stuart, L. H. (2002). The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. Verginia, USA: Booz Allen Hamilton.Google Scholar
  24. Rimal, R. N., & Lapinsk, M. K. (2009). Why health communication is important in public health. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2009(87), 247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rogers, E. M. (1997). Foreword of the book “Health communication: Lesions from family planning and reproductive health, Piotrow, P.H. pp: xiv.Google Scholar
  26. Rogers, E. M., & Shoemaker, F. F. (1971). Communication of innovations: A cross-cultural approach. New York: Free Press. Google Scholar
  27. Rogers, Everett, M. (1997). A History of Communication Study: A Biographical Approach. Washington DC: Free Press.Google Scholar
  28. Rogers, E. M., & Storey, J. D. (1987). Communication campaigns. In C. Berger & S. Chaffee (Eds.), Handbook of communication science (pp. 817–846). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  29. Rural Health Statistics in India. (2012). New Delhi: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.Google Scholar
  30. Sinha, A. (1985). Rural development and mass communication. New Delhi: Concept Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  31. Sinha, A. (1999). Health communication in India: The Challenge (Concept note). New Delhi: DANIDA.Google Scholar
  32. Sinha, A. (2000). Communication gap in blindness control programme: A case of NPCB in Bidar district of Karnataka. Document -1, submitted to the Rotyak Danish Embassy, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  33. Sinha, K. (2011). Quoted by Shonali Advani in Health figures. Entrepreneur (pp. 40–43).Google Scholar
  34. Sriram, A., & Maheswari, U. (2013). Integrated communication strategy for creating awareness on sanitation and hygiene behavior change. International Journal of Communication and Health, Volume 14, 1, 53–59.Google Scholar
  35. Tichenor, P. J., Donohue, G. A., & Olien, C. N. (1970). Mass media flow and differential growth in knowledge. Public Opinion Quarterly, 34, 159–170. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. UNDP (1981). Global Strategy for Health for All by the Year 2000. Retrieved on January 21, 2016.
  37. Vorhaus, M. G. (1957). The changing doctor-patient relationship. New York: Horizon Press.Google Scholar
  38. Wade, S., & Shramm, W. (1969). The mass media as sources of public affairs, science, and health knowledge. Public Opinion Quarterly, 33(2), 197–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zola, I. K. (1966). Culture and symptoms: An analysis of patients presenting complaints. American Sociological Review, 3, 615–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Retrieved on October 11, 2015.
  41. Retrieved on January 02, 2015.
  42. Retrieved on October 11, 2015.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shanti Business SchoolAhmedabadIndia

Personalised recommendations