Written by: Ashley Riley, Program Officer, Breakthrough ACTION, and Eva Rosen, Program Specialist, Breakthrough ACTION
“Social and behavior change is an important strategy for us to end malaria. To get back on track, we need to increase the usage of current tools, as well as compliance within communities that are affected by malaria,” said Dr. Corine Karema, RBM Partnership to End Malaria Interim CEO, as she welcomed participants of the 2022 Global Forum of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria Social and Behavior Change Working Group (SBC WG).
The SBC WG is a forum to exchange malaria SBC best practices and experiences; mobilize political and technical resources to position SBC as a core component of malaria control; and promote the development of theory-informed, evidence-based SBC programming at the country level. Breakthrough ACTION hosts the SBC WG Secretariat.
The 2022 Virtual Forum, which also marks the SBC WG’s 9th annual meeting, took place on September 28 and 29, 2022. Offered in English, French, and Portuguese, this year’s forum included more than 25 presentations from 18 countries and was attended by nearly 450 participants from 50 countries.
During this event, participants explored a wide range of malaria SBC content, including service delivery, vector control, malaria vaccine introduction, reaching the unreached, working with community and faith leaders, and more. The event revealed six key insights:
- The SBC WG needs to strengthen community initiatives, and SBC needs to be included in National Malaria Strategic Plans to respond to global rebounds in malaria cases.
- Using data to segment audiences in new ways will help us tailor and innovate malaria SBC.
- Spatial analysis of SBC data on message exposure, recall, and IRS refusal reasons is a powerful way to visualize who, where, and what to target in our SBC programs.
- While funding gaps for malaria SBC remain, there are champions and allies for malaria SBC within National Malaria Control Program leaders and beyond. We need to interest them in SBC by providing evidence of accomplishments and results.
- To strengthen coordination between M&E and SBC and generate robust and usable SBC data, we need to advocate for our SBC indicators to be included in routine reporting systems.
- For malaria vaccine introduction, we need to employ SBC to help center the community at the core, inform the media before and during vaccine introduction, have trusted health personnel to dispel rumors, and aid health workers in understanding vaccine eligibility criteria.
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