At the onset of the pandemic, several state governments launched campaigns to build awareness regarding COVID-19 and preventive behaviours like mask wearing and physical distancing. They also highlighted the importance of getting tested early to curb the spread of the disease and place less strain on the public health system. However, people hesitated to access government health services because of a lack of trust in the healthcare system and fears about treatment and cure. IDFC Institute, along with Noora Health, Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) and a range of communication experts supported the Government of Punjab in their communication initiatives to promote testing in the state.
We conducted research in five districts of Punjab on barriers to testing, including manifestations of fear and stigma. The findings informed the launch of a three-month campaign aimed at encouraging testing and normalising it as a preventive behaviour. The campaign toolkit (link to resources) comprises posters, a comic strip, audio clips/jingles and a video. Key messages on the importance of testing were reinforced through various channels to enhance reach and build engagement.