This article draws on experience of designing and implementing community engagement in Laos for Targeted Malaria Elimination (TME) - which is ‘the presumptive treatment of an entire community to interrupt local malaria transmission’ (Adhikari et al. 2017). The article identifies five key elements of effective community engagement for mass antimalarial administration in this setting:

  1. Stakeholder and authority engagement (national, regional/district, and local level)
  2. Local human resources (e.g. recruitment of local volunteers who are integral to the design and implementation of activity in study villages)
  3. Formative research to gain insight into local social and economic contexts
  4. Responsiveness so that the approach responds to the needs of the community and their responses to various study components
  5. Sharing control and leadership with the community (e.g. decisions on the organisation of TME activities)

The community engagement strategy that used these five key elements, contributed to high levels of participation in mass anti-malarial administration (>85%). The article does not aim to be prescriptive for community engagement in other contexts, but it recognises that the above five elements were central to this one TME study in Laos.  

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Image: Erik F. Brandsborg, Flickr (CC)


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