The Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP)-led, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Breakthrough ACTION project recently visited Guyana to support efforts to prevent and treat malaria among this South American country’s gold miners. CCP is based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. On their three-week visit, CCP team members worked with officials from Guyana’s Ministry of Public Health, miners, mining associations, camp managers and volunteer malaria testers to generate ideas for how to tackle the problem.
This was the team’s second trip to Guyana. Last fall, the team spent three weeks talking to more than 100 people in the field to gain a deep understanding of the issue. They found that miners typically didn’t perceive malaria as a great risk and that many didn’t fully understand malaria and how to prevent it. Many also didn’t know that they could get free rapid diagnostic tests and approved treatment nearby.
On the team’s most recent trip, the social and behavior change concepts discussed were everything from writing radio jingles to creating a streamlined referral system to developing a mobile reporting app, an option that trained testers quickly rejected.
Some of the simplest ideas, the team found, could end up being most successful — designing brightly colored signs that announce “Free Malaria Testing and Treatment Here,” for example. Another idea is to create simple certificates that can be given to those trained to do rapid diagnostic tests to increase visibility of the services and boost the confidence of both testers and miners in the process.Friday Letter Submission