Changing community behaviour: Experience from three African countries

TitleChanging community behaviour: Experience from three African countries
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsQuick, R
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Health Research
Date PublishedJun
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number0960-3123 (Print)0960-3123 (Linking)
Accession Number12775387
Keywords*Community-Institutional Relations, *Developing Countries, *Disinfection, *Health Behavior, *Social Conditions, *Social Marketing, *Water Supply, Communicable Disease Control, Diarrhea/etiology/prevention & control, Humans, Hygiene, Kenya, Madagascar, Motivation, Zambia

In the developing world, more than 1 billion people lack access to safe water. To address this problem, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed the Safe Water System (SWS), a household-based intervention with three elements: water disinfection, safe storage and behaviour change techniques, and tested these in three countries. In Zambia, social marketing (SM) was used to implement the SWS, and 100 randomly selected households also received motivational interviewing (MI). In Madagascar, the SWS was implemented using SM and community mobilisation (CM). In rural Western Kenya, the SWS was also implemented with SM and CM. In Zambia, 3 months after the SM project launch, 14% of households in the SM-only group had adopted the disinfectant compared with 78% of households in the SM plus MI group. Through SM, over 1 million bottles of disinfectant were sold in 3 years in Zambia. In Antananarivo, Madagascar, 6 months after launch of the water disinfectant, 8% of households in an early stage of the CM process were using the disinfectant compared with 20% in households at a late stage of the CM process. In 1 year, over 500,000 bottles of disinfectant were sold in Madagascar. In Kenya, adoption of the water disinfectant exceeded 60% in intervention households and diarrhoea rates decreased by 58% in children < 5 years. Social marketing permits widespread dissemination of interventions, but may have limited penetration into economically disadvantaged communities. Additional, targeted interventions, such as MI and CM, can increase product adoption. A combination of behaviour change interventions can increase project impact.

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