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A mass media campaign to promote vasectomy in three Brazilian cities (São Paulo, Fortaleza and Salvador) consisted of prime-time television and radio spots, the distribution of flyers, an electronic billboard and public relations activities. Clinic data indicate that the monthly mean number of vasectomies initially increased during the six-week campaign by 108% in Fortaleza, by 59% in Salvador and by 82% in São Paulo. An in-depth analysis of the São Paulo clinic data indicates that during the campaign, television replaced personal sources as the dominant source of referrals among men who made telephone inquiries to the clinics. A regression analysis based on São Paulo clinic records for 12 years confirmed that periodic mass media promotions helped alleviate but did not halt the general downward trend in clinic volume over time. Increases in the cost of vasectomy and in alternative sources for the operation contributed to the lower volume.
(International Family Planning Perspectives, 22:169-175, 1996)