• Community factors affecting participation in larval source management for malaria control in Chikwawa District, Southern Malawi

      Gowelo, S.; McCann, R.S.; Koenraadt, C.J.M. (BioMed Central Ltd., 2020)
      Background: To further reduce malaria, larval source management (LSM) is proposed as a complementary strategy to the existing strategies. LSM has potential to control insecticide resistant, outdoor biting and outdoor resting vectors. Concerns about costs and operational feasibility of implementation of LSM at large scale are among the reasons the strategy is not utilized in many African countries. Involving communities in LSM could increase intervention coverage, reduce costs of implementation and improve sustainability of operations. Community acceptance and participation in community-led LSM depends on a number of factors. These factors were explored under the Majete Malaria Project in Chikwawa district, southern Malawi. Methods: Separate focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with members from the general community (n = 3); health animators (HAs) (n = 3); and LSM committee members (n = 3). In-depth interviews (IDIs) were conducted with community members. Framework analysis was employed to determine the factors contributing to community acceptance and participation in the locally-driven intervention. Results: Nine FGDs and 24 IDIs were held, involving 87 members of the community. Widespread knowledge of malaria as a health problem, its mode of transmission, mosquito larval habitats and mosquito control was recorded. High awareness of an association between creation of larval habitats and malaria transmission was reported. Perception of LSM as a tool for malaria control was high. The use of a microbial larvicide as a form of LSM was perceived as both safe and effective. However, actual participation in LSM by the different interviewee groups varied. Labour-intensiveness and time requirements of the LSM activities, lack of financial incentives, and concern about health risks when wading in water bodies contributed to lower participation. Conclusion: Community involvement in LSM increased local awareness of malaria as a health problem, its risk factors and control strategies. However, community participation varied among the respondent groups, with labour and time demands of the activities, and lack of incentives, contributing to reduced participation. Innovative tools that can reduce the labour and time demands could improve community participation in the activities. Further studies are required to investigate the forms and modes of delivery of incentives in operational community-driven LSM interventions. Copyright 2020 The Author(s).