Community participation and malaria prevention programs

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Malaria prevention and control programs in Zimbabwe have been hampered by low levels of cooperation by local communities. The study sought to assess the impact of community participation on cooperation in malaria prevention and control programs in Binga, Gokwe and Kariba districts in Zimbabwe.
This study is aimed at synthesizing, comparing and contrasting data from these three districts which are, arguably, the most prone to malaria in the country. An intensive and extensive review of related literature was done on the impact of community participation on cooperation in malaria prevention and control. The literature reviewed was focusing on three districts in the country, namely, Binga, Gokwe and Kariba. Typologies of participation were used for the measurement of levels of participation, while analysis was descriptive. Findings revealed that the levels of participation in malaria prevention and control programs in Binga and Gokwe were low, but high in Kariba. The findings from Kariba showed that where the level of community participation was high, cooperation in malaria prevention programs by communities was also high.
This study demonstrates the importance of community participation for the success of the malaria prevention and control programs. Although community participation was also very low in Binga and Gokwe malaria prevention and control programs, in Kariba, the program by Save the Children Fund (UK) showed high levels of participation which might have contributed to the high levels of cooperation by community members. Another important issue to emerge from the study is the effectiveness of environmental management methods of vector control, because they are community-based, hence, the success of the Save the Children Fund (UK) program in Binga and Kariba districts.
The study revealed that community participation at higher levels on the participation typologies contributes in a significant way to cooperative behavior by community members in malaria prevention and control programs. This is significant, since it improves the effectiveness of malaria control programs. Recommendations made include increased community participation in malaria prevention and control programs to enhance cooperation and educational programs on causes, prevention and treatment of malaria.

Keywords: community participation, malaria prevention, malaria control, cooperation.
JEL Classification: I12, I18, I14

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