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ZANZIBAR: How door-to-door interventions help to curb malaria

Feb. 20, 2023
ZANZIBAR: How door-to-door interventions help to curb malaria
A snip from the Malaria journal with an inset of Ifakara Health Institute seasoned researcher, Dr. Samson Kiware, who was among the contributors to the study and publication. GRAPHIC | IFAKARA/KMC.

A new malaria study points out the importance of door-to-door intervention to increase community engagement for malaria elimination in Zanzibar. Scientists from Zanzibar, Tanzania and the USA have confirmed this to be the case after community health volunteers involved in the study recommended the door-to-door approach.

“Community engagement is key for malaria elimination; a door-to-door approach has been accepted by the community members and could be one intervention to increase community engagement,” wrote the scientists - study – among them Ifakara Health Institute seasoned researcher, Dr. Samson Kiware – in their latest publication on the study. The study was published on February 11, 2023, on the Malaria Journal.

The scientists inform in their report thar community engagement approaches have been emphasized by the World Health Organization (WHO) whose framework for reducing malaria transmission underlines their importance.

The study targeted community health volunteers, community members, local leaders, and stakeholders at different levels within the Ministry of Health in Zanzibar – all were interviewed and shared their perceptions on door-to-door interventions. This study was conducted in two Unguja districts – Kusini and Kaskazini B – in Zanzibar from June to December 2021.

The outcome after conducting the interviews and discussions showed that most stakeholders highly support door-to-door interventions as a measure to increase community engagement. Additionally, nearly all respondents also felt they had learned more about malaria through community health volunteer staff than when they heard information on radio and television broadcasts which helped them realise the importance of continuing to protect themselves from malaria even when the transmission was low.

Despite the high levels of acceptance of door-to-door interventions, the stakeholders also provided valuable insights and recommendations on how to make door-to-door interventions effective.

As the scientists pointed out in the study, a number of factors to consider include; addressing gender issues when considering community health volunteers, providing adequate education and regular supportive supervision to community health volunteers, providing access to essential resources, providing additional payment and providing culturally sensitive, evidence-based interventions to improve health.

The scientists were also keen to point out the need to streamline the community engagement approach into existing policy and national health programmes – including the government allocating sufficient resources and improving coordination systems. This would ensure sustainability of the approach which is instrumental for malaria elimination.

>> Read journal article: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12936-023-04474-w