Malaria Social and Behaviour Change Program Guidance in the Context of COVID-19 Pandemic

Date of Publication
2020

To complement the recent guidance from WHO GMP, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria (RBM) Social Behaviour Change (SBC) Working Group has developed interim guidance for malaria SBC in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is recognized that during this unprecedented time, malaria remains an issue in malaria affected countries and in the current context, community members and health workers may face additional challenges that significantly impact the health system. To this end, approaches and systems should be supported to deliver malaria services among communities, households, and individuals.

Given the WHO and national guidance on COVID-19 and the WHO GMP guidance on malaria in the context of COVID-19, the Rollback Malaria (RBM) SBC Working Group recommends that community-level SBC activities that involve interpersonal communication or convening people in one place, such as social mobilization, community engagement, community meetings, or household visits that are conducted for the sole purpose of promoting the uptake of malaria prevention, testing, and treatment be temporarily curtailed in favour of mass, mid-, digital, and social media approaches.<--break->https://www.thecompassforsbc.org/sites/all/modules/wysiwyg/plugins/break..." title="">When conducted in conjunction with life-saving malaria prevention, testing, or treatment, such as an ITN mass campaign, IRS campaign, or SMC campaign,

it may be appropriate to move forward with community-level SBC activities; however, implementation of community-level SBC activities in conjunction with life-saving malaria prevention, testing, or treatment should only be pursued after careful review of WHO and national COVID-19 guidelines, discussions with relevant stakeholders, and careful consideration of the safety of those conducting and participating in community-level SBC activities.

This document identifies general behavioural considerations for implementation of the recent WHO GMP guidance (Tailoring Malaria Interventions in the COVID-19 Response), as well as corresponding malaria SBC recommendations for campaign style malaria prevention interventions (ITNs, IRS, and SMC) and malaria service delivery interventions (malaria case management and malaria in pregnancy). Information on channel selection, stigma, rapid assessment tools, and innovative/alternative activities is also included.