Schistosomiasis is a parasitic neglected tropical disease that affects around 190 million people worldwide, causing chronic ill health and disability. Central to its prevention and control are the acceptance of health interventions such as the distribution of drugs on a mass scale and the adoption of good hygiene and sanitation practices in communities where the disease thrives. One promising method for promoting such behaviours is the Community Dialogue Approach, which involves training volunteers to host regular community meetings, where local health concerns are discussed and culturally appropriate solutions are agreed upon. In 2014/15, Malaria Consortium implemented a Community Dialogue intervention in four districts of Nampula province, Mozambique, to improve knowledge, attitudes and practices with regard to schistosomiasis prevention and control. To assess the effectiveness of the approach, two household surveys were conducted. Results show that before the intervention, knowledge of how schistosomiasis is acquired, transmitted, prevented and treated was low. After the intervention, knowledge and self-reported adoption of positive behaviours had improved substantially, demonstrating that community dialogue can play a central role in strengthening disease prevention and control. The approach could be strengthened by further empowering communities to take action and reducing deeply-held misconceptions.
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