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Complexities in Defining the Unit of Intervention for Reactive Community-Based Malaria Treatment in the Gambia

Jaiteh, Fatou, Ribera, Joan Muela, Masunaga, Yoriko, Okebe, Joseph ORCID:, D'Alessandro, Umberto, Balen, Julie, Achan, Jane, Gerrets, Rene and Peeters Grietens, Koen (2021) 'Complexities in Defining the Unit of Intervention for Reactive Community-Based Malaria Treatment in the Gambia'. Frontiers in Public Health, Vol 9, Issue 601152.

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With significant declines in malaria, infections are increasingly clustered in households, or groups of households where malaria transmission is higher than in surrounding household/villages. To decrease transmission in such cases, reactive interventions target household members of clinical malaria cases, with the intervention unit (e.g., the “household/s”) derived from an epidemiological and operational perspective. A lack of unanimity regarding the spatial range of the intervention unit calls for greater importance to be placed on social context in conceptualizing the appropriate unit. A novel malaria elimination strategy based on reactive treatment was recently evaluated by a cluster randomized trial in a low transmission setting in The Gambia. Transdisciplinary research was used to assess and improve the effectiveness of the intervention which consisted,
among others, of reflecting on whether the household was the most adequate unit of analysis. The intervention was piloted on the smallest treatment unit possible and was further adapted following a better understanding of the social and epidemiological context. Intervention units defined according to (i) shared sleeping spaces and (ii) household membership, showed substantial limitations as it was not possible to define them clearly and they were extremely variable within the study setting. Incorporating local definitions and community preference in the trial design led to the appropriate
intervention unit—the compound—defined as an enclosed space containing one or several households belonging to the same extended patrilineal family. Our study demonstrates the appropriateness of using transdisciplinary research for investigating
alternative intervention units that are better tailored to reactive treatment approaches.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 680 Tropical diseases (General)
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 750 Malaria
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 765 Prevention and control
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Rachel Dominguez
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2021 11:58
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2021 11:58


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