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How-To Guides Help Develop a Creative Brief to Reach Lady Health Workers in Pakistan

How do you explain social and behavior change communication to someone not in the field of public health?

What about determinants of behavior? How would you explain it to someone from a different discipline or background, such as a potential vendor?

Laila Hussain, a social and behavior change communication (SBCC) practitioner in Pakistan, faced this challenge while working to find a vendor to develop a mobile application for Lady Health Workers.

Laila Hussain

Lady Health Workers play a key role in delivering health care interventions to the 64 percent of Pakistanis living in rural areas. These workers provide door-to-door counseling and basic primary and reproductive health services, which are greatly needed – complications due to pregnancy and child birth are the leading cause of death for women ages 15-45, accounting for 20 percent of the 8,000 annual deaths among women of child-bearing age. The death rate of children under 5 is below the Millennium Development Goal target and about half of all deaths for children under 5 occur in the first month of life.

The government of Sindh province, with support from Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs’ (CCP) Health Communication Project, has committed to scaling-up maternal and child health interventions to hard-to-reach areas. This mobile application is part of that intervention.


Various components of the project, along with the need for original videos based on the interpersonal communication technique the team uses, needed to be outlined so potential vendors – not SBCC experts – fully understood the project.

A suggestion

While providing technical assistance in Pakistan, a suggestion came from Leanne Wolff, a Senior Program Officer with CCP. Wolff advised Hussain to first develop a creative brief in order to ascertain what information the firm would need (and what they didn’t). The brief ensured the team would all be on the same page before engaging a vendor. Wolff suggested this tool to start: How to Write a Creative Brief, from The Health COMpass.



The Health COMpass is a collection of online resources that targets SBCC professionals to aid in the creation of materials. It also serves as a repository of best-practices and examples and strengthens capacity among professionals. Hussain followed the ‘How to Guide’ and adapted the templates included on the Health COMpass resources to come up with her own creative brief. Hussain followed the guide closely, finding it clear and concise – even formatting her brief in the same manner. The two templates offered as examples were instrumental in creating her own brief.


What resulted was a well-crafted creative brief to direct the production of videos that Lady Health Workers would show clients. The brief was the basis of what was called “a high quality” request for proposal (RFP) by those who received it.

According to Hussain, “The How-To guides are really helpful. From someone who hasn’t written a brief like this before, I did it in one try. If I hadn’t had those briefs, this would have taken multiple iterations. This was so structured, it saved me time.” Wolff adds these types of easy to use tools are ideal to use when working with staff. “They provide the guidance to develop a quality product that the team can then respond to.”

Hussain is now a regular Health COMpass user.

“If you search, you can find pretty much anything, which is great. The Health COMpass is a really valuable resource.”

Leanne Wolff and Laila Hussain
Laila Hussain and Leanne Wolff review the How to Write a Creative Brief
Footnote: Photos by Khaula Jamil and David Alexander