Malaria is both a preventable and treatable illness, yet it remains one of the world’s leading causes of death and disease. Effectively treating malaria requires a strategy that goes beyond clinical approaches and addresses the knowledge, attitudes and social norms that prevent populations from using available prevention and treatment options. As the first day of the International SBCC Summit comes to a close, I cannot help but reflect on the power of SBCC and see its potential to address the factors that prevent people from practicing positive malaria behaviors. To make real progress, the malaria SBCC community is going to need to join forces and take collective action.
Collaboration is key to reducing the global burden of malaria and the SBCC Summit is the perfect opportunity for the community to share best practices and lessons learned, strengthen the malaria SBCC evidence base and discuss our future together. With this in mind, I’d like to highlight a couple of noteworthy events at the Summit for those attending, or following online.
On Tuesday, February 9, the RBM Communication Community of Practice (CCoP) is hosting two events aimed at building SBCC practitioners’ capacity to develop, implement and evaluate effective malaria communication activities. The first event, Presenting Promising Practices for Malaria SBCC (7:30 AM) will feature presentations on community-based SBCC happening in Ethiopia, results from an analysis focused on monitoring and evaluating malaria case management activities and an overview of research and resources from CCoP partner ACT Consortium. The second event, Resource Sharing and Networking with the RBM CCoP (5:00 PM) provides an opportunity to network with like-minded SBCC practitioners while learning about current initiatives from the CCoP and partners, helpful resources and the many ways to participate in the CCoP.
Another event on Tuesday, the Coordinating for Maximum Malaria Impact panel (11:30 AM) will feature presentations about using innovative partnerships to strengthen malaria SBCC initiatives. During this panel, presenters from HC3, CCP, Malaria Consortium and the Nigerian National Malaria Elimination Programme will share their experiences collaborating with a range of stakeholders – from governmental organizations to “cops and big pharm” – to improve program reach and impact.
I am also interested in two events taking place on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The first panel, Exploring the Future of SBCC Interventions (9:30 AM) will discuss interventions that promote small doable actions (SDAs) as a way to get individuals to adopt and consistently perform behaviors in resource-constrained settings. This panel seems especially interesting because it considers this approach for a number of health topics, like WASH and family planning, as well as malaria. In the second panel, Malaria in the Not So New Millennium (11:30 AM) presenters will share their findings on the barriers to using insecticide-treated nets in Ethiopia and Uganda, as well as the impact and lessons learned from programs fostering community change agents.
While I look forward to attending these presentations, I am equally interested in hearing reactions from others in the malaria SBCC community. Keep conversation going on Springboard and make sure to follow SBCC Summit updates via #SBCCummit on Facebook and Twitter. I can’t wait to see you there.