Social and Behavior Change Communication
The Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) Unit is a sub section of Operations and Communications department and has been an integral part of the AGAMal Indoor Residual Spraying Program primarily to ensure community acceptance and participation in the program activities.
It is structured to enable individuals, families, organizations and communities play active roles in achieving, protecting and sustaining their own health. SBCC is an interactive process with individuals or communities to promote and sustain behavior change using a variety of communication channels and approaches. It is also the process of learning what empowers a person to make certain decisions which modifies behavioral change and social conditions.
Community meetings are carried out to sensitize beneficiaries. This includes Educational Campaigns, House-to-House sensitization and Radio Talk Shows. These activities are meant to create public awareness about the program and to contribute in changing the behaviors and attitudes of community members in order to ensure the sustainability of the impacts on the program.
The SBCC team is headed by the Head of Operations, Communications and Research at the national level, a Zonal SBCC Officer at the regional level and ten District SBCC Officers. The District SBCC Officers are assisted by a Community Volunteer Advocates.
The SBCC team prepares communities for spraying by educating community members on all available World Health Organization and Ghana Health Service approved preventive measures which focus on how to prepare homes for spraying and roles of householders before, during and after spraying.
The Unit is endowed with megaphones and horns which is mounted on vehicles for dusk and dawn broadcast, fliers, posters, leaflets and other educative video materials.
The SBCC Campaign – Pre IRS Operations:
These set of activities are done early in the season so that the communities are fully sensitized before the spray operators go onto the field to spray.
- Community entry processes
- Targeted SBCC in difficult communities
- House-to-house mobilization / sensitization
- IRS messaging for the campaign
- Community education/ outreaches – Taking advantage of health programs, mosques, churches, schools, Community Based Associations, etc.)
- Pre-spray Stakeholders Meeting (Regional/district /sub-district level) – strategizing
- Mass educational campaign (Using Megaphones and P.A. Systems mounted on vehicles)
- Pre-spray media campaign (discussions & jingles-a week or two prior to spray-largely from the radio stations)
- Collaborate with Program Advocates (Chiefs, Elders, Assemblymen, Pastors, Imams, generally any influential person) to carry out education & SBCC (Influential Voices)
SBCC Campaign – During IRS Operations:
- Media campaign to support spray (announcements, jingles & interactive discussions)
- Community announcements (through the use of community information centers, gong-gong beating, mobile vans, mosques & churches). Announcements are usually made a day prior to and on the day of spray
- Educational campaigns among all identifiable groups of people, organizations and institutions.
- Special SBCC initiatives (such as clean-up campaigns, blood donations, school quiz, know your malaria status etc.)
- Community durbars and fora
- School Health Sensitization Programs
- Evening mobilization programs such as video shows
- Mobilization for revisits using spray coverage data
- Refusal management and addressing householder complaints that may occur.
During spray season, the SBCC Unit provides continuous education in schools, clinics, religious bodies, radio and other recognized groups in the community whiles there are vigorous supervision to ensure the message conveyed is accurate and effective.
SBCC Campaign – Post IRS Operations
- Post spray stakeholders meetings at sub-district, district and regional levels to discuss spray coverage for the just ended campaign, assess performance and discuss trends as well as review strategies for the future.
- Community exit
- Continuous work within available community structures to carry out education (through radio engagements etc.)
- Work with Program Advocates and engage community leadership to address concerns, misconceptions and fatigue issues identified
Post-spraying assessments and surveys are done through observation, making inquiries from beneficiaries, advising householders not to paint or wash the sprayed walls and analyzing feedback from phone-ins during radio programs. Stakeholder engagements are also done to get feedback from the communities.