Online Program

Tackling malaria through a Champion Communities approach in Zambia: Using data to change behaviors and improve health outcomes

Monday, November 2, 2015

Malaria remains a major public health challenge in Zambia, particularly for vulnerable populations including children under five and pregnant women. From 2011 – 2014, the USAID Zambia Communications Support for Health (CSH) program implemented the STOP Malaria campaign, a community-based initiative operating in four provinces, eight districts, and 131 communities in Zambia. The initiative used the Champion Communities approach (a participatory behavior change methodology that supports communities to lead efforts in designing, implementing, monitoring, and celebrating their own public health programming and improvements) and routine data collection to promote behaviors such as increased bed net use, appropriate malaria testing at first sign of fever, regular antenatal care (ANC) attendance, and uptake of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (Pit).

 The data, collected monthly from households participating in the program, was used to provide on-the-spot counseling to families struggling with the behaviors described above. The data was aggregated and presented to the entire community, allowing community members to measure progress. As a result, each household was regularly confronted with their reported and quantified behaviors, which proved to be a major impetus for behavior change. Overall, bed net use rose 33 percent from May 2013 (baseline) to 77 percent in June 2014 (end line). ANC attendance rose from 52 to 96 percent; IPTp uptake doubled from 50 to 100 percent; and malaria testing improved from 63 to 94 percent. By the program’s end, the proportion of the surveyed population with fever dropped from 27 to 8 percent.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate challenges and opportunities to replicate community-led data collection and counseling to improve health behaviors in other disease areas. Identify innovative approaches to overcome limitations (namely self-reported nature of data collected on behavior) of study design and improve reliability of the results.

Keyword(s): Community Health Programs, Data Collection and Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I served as the project manager on the USAID-funded Zambia Communications Support for Health program. I also have experience and interest in designing malaria prevention programs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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