Community participation for malaria elimination in Tafea Province, Vanuatu: part I. Maintaining motivation for prevention practices in the context of disappearing disease

Atkinson, Jo-an M., Fitzgerald, Lisa, Toaliu, Hilson, Taleo, George, Tynan, Anna, Whittaker, Maxine, Riley, Ian, and Vallely, Andrew (2010) Community participation for malaria elimination in Tafea Province, Vanuatu: part I. Maintaining motivation for prevention practices in the context of disappearing disease. Malaria Journal, 9. 93.

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Abstract

Background: In the 1990s, the experience of eliminating malaria from Aneityum Island, Vanuatu is often given as evidence for the potential to eliminate malaria in the south-west Pacific. This experience, however, cannot provide a blueprint for larger islands that represent more complex social and environmental contexts. Community support was a key contributor to success in Aneityum. In the context of disappearing disease, obtaining and maintaining community participation in strategies to eliminate malaria in the rest of Tafea Province, Vanuatu will be significantly more challenging.

Method: Nine focus group discussions (FGDs), 12 key informant interviews (KIIs), three transect walks and seven participatory workshops were carried out in three villages across Tanna Island to investigate community perceptions and practices relating to malaria prevention (particularly relating to bed nets); influences on these practices including how malaria is contextualized within community health and disease priorities; and effective avenues for channelling health information.

Results: The primary protection method identified by participants was the use of bed nets, however, the frequency and motivation for their use differed between study villages on the basis of the perceived presence of malaria. Village, household and personal cleanliness were identified by participants as important for protection against malaria. Barriers and influences on bed net use included cultural beliefs and practices, travel, gender roles, seasonality of mosquito nuisance and risk perception. Health care workers and church leaders were reported to have greatest influence on malaria prevention practices. Participants preferred receiving health information through visiting community health promotion teams, health workers, church leaders and village chiefs.

Conclusion: In low malaria transmission settings, a package for augmenting social capital and sustaining community participation for elimination will be essential and includes: 'sentinel sites' for qualitative monitoring of evolving local socio-cultural, behavioural and practical issues that impact malaria prevention and treatment; mobilizing social networks; intersectoral collaboration; integration of malaria interventions with activities addressing other community health and disease priorities; and targeted implementation of locally appropriate, multi-level, media campaigns that sustain motivation for community participation in malaria elimination.

Item ID: 48016
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1475-2875
Keywords: malaria, Vanuatu, community participation, elimination, prevention, motivation
Additional Information:

© 2010 Atkinson et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funders: AusAID
Date Deposited: 02 May 2017 04:01
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1108 Medical Microbiology > 110803 Medical Parasitology @ 40%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111716 Preventive Medicine @ 30%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111712 Health Promotion @ 30%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920109 Infectious Diseases @ 50%
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