Finding out what poses the greatest risk for contracting Schistosomiasis

The overall goal of this project is to reduce the risk of bilharzia transmission, which causes the illness Schistosomiasis. To contribute to this goal, we developed evidence-based behaviour change interventions to change transmitting behaviours (excreting into the environment or water leading to risk of transmission to others) as well as exposing behaviours (exposing oneself, or one’s child, through contact with contaminated water). This was done by applying a new participatory approach to design context- and population-specific interventions, co-developed with SCI Foundation (now Unlimit Health) and the Ministry of Health.

The approach comprises several community meetings, which contain community risk mapping and a participatory evaluation of bilharzia mitigation options. The possibilities of installing physical infrastructure were also discussed. Prior to the community meetings, observations of bilharzia-related behaviours in a community and incidence of bilharzia in water sites of the community were conducted, to be able to inform the community about its specific bilharzia risk profile.

We specifically focused on developing evidence-based behaviour change strategies by using data from a quantitative survey based on the RANAS (Risk, Attitudes, Norms, Abilities, Self-regulation) approach. The project was conducted in 3 communities in Uganda, in the upper Victoria Nile region, as this region is known to be heavily impacted by bilharzia. In a next step, specific interventions and the respective behaviour change campaigns will be developed.


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