The Kenya Breaking Transmission Strategy for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) from 2019 to 2023 intensifies advocacy, coordination, and partnerships. The purpose of this study was to explore views and experiences of stakeholders and health workers on ways of improving the Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilization (ACSM) activities of Mass Drug Administration (MDA) for Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) programs through participatory approaches in Kilifi County, Kenya.
Two wards were purposely selected in the Kaloleni sub-county, Kilifi County, where there was an average treatment coverage of 56% in 2015, 50.5% in 2016. Qualitative data collection methods were employed, which included participatory meetings with county stakeholders to understand their views, experiences, and suggestions on how ACSM strategies can be improved in MDA for LF. Twelve In-Depth Interviews (IDIs) were conducted (six with opinion leaders and six with Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) and two semi-structured interviews (SSIs) were held with county and sub-county coordinators involved in MDA administration. The aim was to better to understand their perceptions of the NTD program about ACSM, challenges to ACSM strategies, and ways to improve the strategies for ACSM in MDA for LF. The Data was organized and classified into codes and themes using QSR NVIVO version 12.
The study observed the low participation of stakeholders in the ACSM activities of MDA for LF and identified potential areas for stakeholders' involvement to strengthen the activities. Challenges hindering effective implementation of ACSM activities include late delivery of Information, Educational and Communication (IEC) and few IEC materials, insufficient funding, inadequate time allocated to reach the assigned households with messages, messaging, and packaging of information for dissemination due to the vastness of the area. The stakeholders recommended innovative strategies and techniques to improve ACSM activities.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
The results of this study show key challenges to ACSM implementation of MDA for LF. Implementers need to pay attention to these challenges to enhance the effectiveness of MDA per the Kenya NTD Breaking Transmission Strategy. ACSM efforts in MDA for LF control and elimination should be linked with overarching efforts to mainstream partnerships and coordination in control and elimination.
Improving Access to Mass Drug Administration for Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination using a Participatory Approach among Communities of Coastal Kenya
To assess the socio-economic factors contributing to low access to MDA, to identify the existing health services opportunities and other outlets specific to various socio-economic groups that could be used for improving access to MDA, and to develop feasible field-applicable strategies that can be used to reach groups with consistently low access to MDA.