Behaviour Change Collection

Schistosomiasis is a water-borne disease. Water is the medium where transmission occurs. Both people and the aquatic snails (carriers of schistosome worms) become infected in water. It is not surprising that a common characteristic of communities plagued by this disease is the lack of access to safe, clean water. These communities turn to open, natural water-bodies to wash, clean, drink and bathe, increasing the risk of exposure to these worms. In addition areas that lack access to safe, clean water also tend to lack easily accessible sanitation and hygiene infrastructure. Thus open urination and defeacation are common behaviours. To control and eliminate schistosomiasis we need to increase access to safe, clean water, good sanitation facilities and motivate effective behaviour change!

For sustainable schistosomiasis control and elimination, integrated interventions bringing together preventative treatment and morbidity management, health-seeking and risk reduction behaviours, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) infrastructure & practices, and snail intermediate host management are crucial.

Interventions that focus on enabling healthy behaviours and reducing risky behaviours associated with schistosomiasis infection and transmission can sustain the gains made by treatment-based control programmes and accelerate elimination efforts.

Changing behaviour is crucial yet can be difficult to achieve. Knowledge and information aquisition through e.g. health education is often not enough to motivate a change in risky behaviour. This needs to be coupled with carefully designed interventions that lead to the ability & motivation to change behaviour, whether that is health-seeking behaviour such as accessing treatment or preventative behaviour such as good sanitation practices and avoidance of potential transmission sites. And for behaviour change interventions to succeeed they need to be tailored to the local epidemiological, socio-cultural and demographic context of at-risk populations. This can be challenging.

In order to facilitate public health practicioners and behaviour change facilitators working on schistosomiasis we have created this collection of manuals, toolkits, best practices, and case studies.

If you would like to send us any resources you think would be useful or have any questions on please email us: anouk [dot] gouvras [at] eliminateschisto [dot] org

You can find out more about transmission and the life cycle of schistosomiasis here.