Using Health Communication to Make an Impact on Malaria
The Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3 ) supports the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative’s (PMI) goal of significantly reducing deaths from malaria in high burden African countries. A growing body of evidence supports the role SBCC programs play in malaria prevention and treatment. To effectively integrate evidence-based SBCC into global and national malaria control strategies and policies, HC3 believes it is important to build capacity in SBCC among malaria experts, clearly identify SBCC processes for the malaria community to follow and establish norms that encourage the consistent use of SBCC in malaria programs.
Building a Malaria SBCC Community
HC3 is strengthening the capacity of local organizations to design, implement, manage and evaluate evidence-based SBCC interventions that address malaria. The project convened 84 participants from 20 countries for the first PMI SBCC partners meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in September 2013. The project helped revitalize the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) SBCC Community of Practice, which is developing into a valuable resource for malaria prevention professionals. HC3 is making use of its Springboard for Health Communication Professionals to encourage those working in malaria to exchange lessons learned, best practices and experiences as well as malaria SBCC resources within and across countries. Springboard is a virtual platform for SBCC professionals to build an online community of practice that is supported by face-to-face activities.
Collecting Malaria Tools and Resources
To help further professional development in malaria SBCC, HC3 is curating technical as well as monitoring and evaluation (M&E) guidelines and resources already developed and approved by the RBM and PMI community of partners. To accomplish this, HC3 is leveraging the power of Springboard for Health Communication Professionals and Health COMpass. Health COMpass is an online resource that houses best practice SBCC tools and program examples.
Strengthening Malaria SBCC Capacity
In 2013, HC3 reviewed the Zimbabwe National Malaria Control Program’s (NMCP) communication strategy and helped draft implementation guidelines for malaria SBCC activities. The guidelines are designed to improve the quality and impact of SBCC programs by ensuring that all SBCC implementing partners in Zimbabwe are using evidence-based strategies. In Liberia, HC3’s plans to implement a standardized survey protocol and questionnaire it developed to measure knowledge, perceptions and beliefs related to malaria, insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), indoor residual spraying (IRS), and malaria diagnosis and treatment. The malaria survey will also be implemented in Madagascar. After the survey results are evaluated, HC3 will develop guidance to more accurately inform SBCC strategies in endemic countries. HC3 is working in Nigeria at the national and state level to strengthen skills and organizational development capacity to develop and implement SBCC initiatives for malaria prevention and control.
Better Malaria SBCC Tools and Systems
HC3 plans several activities to help establish better tools and systems for monitoring and evaluating SBCC programs for malaria. One is support for an online compendium of indicators for malaria SBCC that is being developed by the NetWorks project. Another is supporting NetWorks online training modules for malaria SBCC. Finally, HC3 will help redesign an online tool to track SBCC activities funded by PMI.