Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria's Malaria SBC Resources contributing to zero malaria

The United States President's Malaria Initiative (PMI)-funded Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria project collaborates with Nigeria's National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) and other implementing partners to implement Social and Behavior Change (SBC) interventions in a third of Nigeria's 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory. The intervention states are Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto and Zamfara.

Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria's SBC interventions contribute to zero malaria through investing in, innovating, and implementing SBC interventions. Through community activities, Provider Behavior Change interventions and mass media campaigns, Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria has supported NMEP to ensure communities and healthcare workers have messages and information to prevent, test, and correctly treat malaria. Here are some of the resources developed by Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria over the years of partnership.

Involving Providers in Improving Fever Case Management in Nigeria

In Nigeria, providers tend to over-diagnose malaria, leading to an overuse of malaria medicines and potentially insufficient attention to other causes of fever in patients. Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria learned that providers do not trust negative malaria test results because they believe malaria is endemic and that there should be more positive malaria tests. In collaboration with healthcare providers and local and national government partners, Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria used behavioral design to develop new solutions to increase healthcare providers’ adherence to fever case management guidelines. The project’s solutions sought to increase providers’ trust in malaria tests and to make adherence to tests a default practice in public health facilities. Pilot data showed an improvement in both providers’ beliefs and behaviors, and monitoring data suggests they remain effective even when deployed at scale. This Nigeria Malaria Spotlight provides an overview of how.

The Mama Put Video Series Humorously Shares Messages on Testing and Treating Malaria

Mama Put is a series of radio and video spots designed to inform audiences about fever case management (how to test fever cases for malaria). The series has been aired on over 50 radio and television stations and features a restaurant owner, Mama Put, who uses wry humor to advise her community about malaria. The episode is about a customer who started anti malaria medicine but did not complete the recommended dosage thinking because she is feeling okay, she can save the rest of the medication for another time. Watch how Mama Put addresses the situation.

Check out some of the other episodes: The Generator and The Tailor

Encouraging Communities to Use Bed Nets Consistently and Correctly

The mass distribution of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) is a central part of Nigeria's malaria control strategy, ensuring that communities have and are correctly and consistently using nets. Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria has supported several states in providing social and behavioral change communications interventions before, during and after the ITN distributions. Through these interventions, community members know about the ITN distribution and how they can get nets for their families. They also learn about how to use the nets to prevent malaria correctly. Also, since 2022, Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria has led advocacy efforts in Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Kebbi, Nasarawa and Oyo, resulting in the states' government contribution of over $300,000 towards the costs of the ITN distributions resulting in the leadership of these States contributing over $300,000 towards the costs of the ITN distribution. In addition, media houses donated airtime worth over $12,000 in Nasarawa State alone, the first of its kind in any ITN distribution campaign in Nigeria. With these efforts, over 90% of the populace issued vouchers/net cards redeemed their ITNs at distribution points during the campaign while over 64% of children under five years slept inside the ITN from an immediate evaluation of the ITN campaigns across all supported states.

Watch: ITN campaigns in Oyo and Kebbi state.

Strengthening Radio Stations for Impactful Public Health Messaging in Nigeria

Radio is an effective way to reach many people in Nigeria with public health messages. However, many media outlets and program producers need more social and behavior change communication expertise to make a real difference in their messaging. To address this challenge, the PMI-funded Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria works with radio stations across 12 states in Nigeria to strengthen the stations’ ability to incorporate malaria-related messages into their health programs.

Using Interactive Voice Response to Deliver Malaria Messages Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization urged countries not to suspend their planned malaria prevention, diagnostic, and treatment activities. At the same time, programs needed to find ways to reach communities amidst COVID-19 restrictions and ensure community volunteers could practice appropriate safety measures. To do so, Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria adjusted its community SBC activities, then leveraged interactive voice response (IVR) technology to re-orient local supervisors on new approaches. IVR is an innovative, cost-efficient approach that allows users to access pre-recorded content through a simple call on a mobile phone.

Breakthrough ACTION is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative under the terms of Cooperative Agreement No. AID-OAA-A-17-00017.