IPTp and ITN Promotion through Community Caravans in Benin

Apr 2013
To address the low uptake of IPTp in Benin, PMI is supporting a multi-pronged strategy to promote malaria prevention behaviors through caravans, radio and TV spots, advocacy with opinion leaders, and reinforcement of interpersonal communication skills of health providers and malaria managers.
Health providers deliver messages to the public during a stop near Sikekodji Health Center in Cotonou, Benin. Source: Guillaume Bakadi Mukenge / JHUCCP

The 2011-2012 Benin Demographic Health Survey (DHS) found that more than 70 percent of children under five and pregnant women use ITNs, up from 25 percent in 2006. Unfortunately only 23 percent of women reported receiving the recommended two IPTp treatments during their last pregnancy. To address the low uptake of IPTp in Benin, PMI is supporting a multi-pronged strategy to promote malaria prevention behaviors through caravans, radio and TV spots, advocacy with opinion leaders, and reinforcement of interpersonal communication skills of health providers and malaria managers.

Caravans bring malaria messages (and health workers) out of health centers into neighborhoods, engaging audiences with music, dance and theatre. In FY 2012, one such caravan – aimed at increasing awareness about the importance of long-lasting ITNs and of the use of SP to prevent malaria during pregnancy – traveled to three health centers within the health zone of Cotonou. Health workers relayed key messages about SP and ITNs in local languages to the public from a promotional truck decorated with banners displaying messages about correct ITN use and IPTp2. A local theater group performed skits, and more than 5,000 people were exposed to the messages.

Aguey Chimene, a 38-year old hairdresser, commented, “What I learned for the first time [was in] regards the use of SP and how this drug can destroy malaria in the placenta and reduce the risk of malaria in the fetus. These messages are important for both men and women.” Thirty-six-year-old Jean Gedandan, a stonemason, noted that while he had bought mosquito nets for his children, "I did not think that it was useful for me as the father. But with today’s message, I have decided to buy and use one for myself, too."

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