Malaria Consortium is delighted to announce that it has received a Grand Challenges in Global Health grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for an innovative community dialogue project in Mozambique to help reduce neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
Currently, low participation in mass drug administration (MDA) programmes is thought to be caused by limited understanding of their purpose by the community and of local perceptions of these diseases by health workers. And yet, the prevalence rates for NTDs in the country are extremely high.
“Limited models exist for MDA providers to increase community engagement, including strengthening awareness of these diseases and building trust and understanding of the benefits of MDA,” explained Dr Sylvia Meek, Malaria Consortium’s Technical Director. “This reduces participation in MDA campaigns and hinders control of NTDs.”
This new project will be focused in Nampula Province, Mozambique, where the highest prevalence rates recorded at district level, according to Ministry of Health data (2007), are 90 percent for schistosomiasis, 78 percent for soil transmitted helminths and up to 82 percent in certain districts for lymphatic filariasis.
Malaria Consortium Mozambique will train community leaders, health workers and volunteers in the community dialogue approach. This approach helps build the capacity of community volunteers and leaders to hold structured dialogues where participants share their own personal stories and perceptions about the diseases and their management. Regular monitoring of these community dialogues will also allow health workers to listen to communities’ concerns, answer their questions, and ultimately increase understanding and accountability on both sides.
“The adaptation of the community dialogue approach to NTDs will generate deeper understanding of communities’ knowledge, perceptions and experiences with NTDs and MDA campaigns,” said Dr Meek. “It will also document an effective health communication model to increase uptake and adherence to treatment through MDA and knowledge of NTD prevention methods more broadly.”
Malaria Consortium was one of 81 winners to receive the US$100,000 grant. The organisation’s proposal was selected from more than 2,700 submitted on a range of topic areas.
For more information on the Grand Challenges, please click here
For information about Malaria Consortium’s work in Mozambique, please visit our Mozambique country page.