Seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) using sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine is an efficacious intervention for protection of children against Plasmodium falciparum malaria during the rainy season. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Malaria Consortium adapted its SMC delivery model to ensure safety of distributors, data collectors and beneficiaries. We conducted a SMC monitoring survey in July 2020 in the states of Bauchi, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Yobe, with questions on COVID-19 prevention behaviours and symptoms, and belief in misinformation. We investigated the associations between receipt of information on COVID-19 by different sources, including from SMC distributors, and these three outcomes using logistic generalised estimating equations. We also considered moderation of effectiveness of message delivery by SMC distributors and adherence to use of face coverings.
We obtained a representative sample of 40,157 caregivers of eligible children aged 3–59 months, of which 36,914 (91.92 percent) reported knowledge of COVID-19. The weighted proportions of respondents who correctly identified COVID-19 prevention behaviours and symptoms, and who reported belief in COVID-19 misinformation, were 80.52 percent (95 percent confidence interval [95 percent CI] 80.02–81.00), 81.72 percent (95 percent CI 81.23–82.20) and 22.90 percent (95 percent CI 22.24–23.57). Receipt of information on COVID-19 from SMC distributors during the campaign was significantly associated with higher odds of caregiver knowledge of COVID-19 prevention behaviours (odds ratio [OR] 1.78, 95 percent CI 1.64–1.94, p < 0.001) and symptoms (OR 1.74, 95 percent CI 1.59–1.90, p < 0.001) and lower odds of belief in COVID-19 misinformation (OR 0.92, 95 percent CI 0.85–1.00, p = 0.038). The associations between message delivery by SMC distributors and the three outcomes were moderated by their adherence to face covering use. Receipt of information by other sources used to deliver government public health messages, including radio and health facility workers, was also associated with knowledge of COVID-19.
Malaria Consortium’s SMC programme was successfully adapted in the context of COVID-19 and was a conduit for high-quality public health messages. Standard SMC monitoring and evaluation activities can be adapted to gather evidence on emerging public health issues such as the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Published in BMC Tropical Medicine and Health
Country: NigeriaKeywords: Public health communications | Research | Surveillance | COVID-19 | Malaria | Seasonal malaria chemoprevention | SDG3
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