Strengthening communication for behaviour change and social mobilization to promote malaria control
Malaria constitutes a serious epidemic in Togo despite the financial and technical support of development partners. This situation is due to lack of suitable communication about the disease (symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment). To fight against this great scourge, a genuine social communication must be developed by using all means of modern and traditional communications.
In the framework of this project that covered the entire Prefecture of Tchamba, the ANCE teams met all the political and religious authorities, traditional chiefs and notables, members of Village Development Committees CVD) and Neighborhood Development Committee (NDCs), women’s organizations, activist organizations in the field of health, community based organizations and populations. The purpose of these meetings is to inform these people and grassroots communities about malaria, its symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment. A large meeting was held in Tchamba (chief town of the prefecture), followed by hundreds of public meetings in the cantons and villages. Then, several radio programs were organized in community radios in local languages. Door-to-door visits and sketches were also used to convey messages to local communities.
An important element in this communication is the integrated approach that was used. The communication focused on symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment. It also focused on the use of Long Lasting Insecticidal Mosquito Nets (LLINs), the need for environmental management in support of the PID (Bringing all populations and districts to ensure 100% destruction of the main mosquito breeding sites identified in their areas). The ANCE teams also gave local communities specific knowledge about the protection of pregnant women through Intermittent Preventive Treatment (TPI2).
Local monitoring teams have been established in each canton and village. These committees consist of traditional leaders, a few notables, nurse (if any), VDC and NDC members, primary or secondary school headmasters, etc… The aim is also to strengthen partnerships against malaria and promote diagnosis by communities themselves, and give rise to the duty of consulting when an event occurs.
This project was a great success and deserves to be continued and generalized in other regions and prefectures of Togo.