TCDC (Tanzania Communications and Development Center)
Focus Malaria Communicaton
Malaria is a major public health concern in Tanzania, with children under 5 and pregnant women most at risk. Some do not take action to prevent the disease or fail to seek help for symptoms. Others do not trust test results or stop taking malaria drugs when they start to feel better, without completing the dose.
This project aimed to increase awareness and demand for health care-seeking behaviour among community members as part of reducing malaria prevalence in the Geita and Kigoma regions. This was achieved through ensuring people were seeking early treatment, increasing trust in test results, and encouraging people to adhere to malaria treatment (dose completion). The project aimed to raise awareness and generate public discussion around causes, symptoms, and prevention of malaria among pregnant women, children under five as well as other community members.
Using mass media, community events, small group meetings and one-to-one communication, the project resulted in better awareness, more people sleeping under treated bed nets, and more people seeking tests and treatment early for symptoms of malaria. The project was successful in increasing knowledge among its target audience, motivating and shaping behaviours and tackling myths and misconceptions on around net use for better protection against malaria.
Working with religious leaders
There was successful engagement of religious leaders in the project as ambassadors and champions to influence on awareness. The religious leaders supported community health workers to disseminate malaria messages in the churches and mosques during the prayer gathering. This now has become a culture to remind the community of the importance of taking correct measures for malaria control.
Household ownership of ITNs (insecticide-treated nets) increased from 93% of households in 2016 to 97% of households by 2019.
Pregnant women who slept under mosquito nets the night before increased from 44% to 96% between 2016 and 2019
Among children under five, ITN use increased from 35% in 2016 to 98% by 2019.
48%: the increase in malaria knowledge among mothers/caretakers between 2016 and 2019