Acceptance of the Contribution of Community-Based Health Workers (CBHWs) to Improving Prevention of Malaria in Pregnancy in Burkina Faso by Health Center Staff

Efforts are underway to test the a community-based system for providing IPTp to pregnant women in Burkina Faso as a means of increasing coverage. Justin Tiendrebeogo, Ousmane Badolo, Mathurin Dodo, Yacouba Savadogo, Danielle Burke, Susan Youll, and William Brieger share a formative study among health staff concerning their perceptions of the ability of Community Based Health Workers to provide increased doses. This was presented at the 7th Multilateral Initiative for Malaria Conference in Dakar. Below are the findings.

The Burkina Faso Ministry of Health, with support from its partners, initiated a study on the feasibility of increasing provision of intermittent preventive malaria treatment in pregnant women (IPTp) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP). Existing community-based health workers (CBHWs) were enlisted to deliver the third and fourth doses recommended by the World Health Organization. Currently, only facility-based health care providers give SP, and women in rural areas have trouble accessing health facilities for the medicine.

Using CBHWs has the potential to reach more women with a greater number of doses of IPTp-SP. Direct training and supervision of CBHWs is the responsibility of frontline health care staff, including antenatal care (ANC) providers. Therefore, to ensure a successful rollout of community delivery of IPTp, it is crucial that these staff accept the new roles of CBHWs. This baseline study was conducted to learn the frontline staff’s views about existing and proposed CBHW activities.

Study’s Geographic Areas. Three districts (Batié, Pô, and Ouargaye) in the southern part of Burkina Faso. Twelve centre de santé et de promotion sociale (health and social promotion centers [CSPS]) were selected in Ouargaye, Pô, and Batié Health Districts. In each district, two CSPS were randomly assigned as intervention catchment areas, for a total of six centers. Then using matching criteria, the remaining six CSPS were designated as control sites.

Health Worker Interviews were conducted among a total of 35 CSPS staff: 23 were men, and 12 were women. Semi-structured interview guides were used in this formative study. Open-ended questions sought the views of ANC providers and CBHW supervisors about the current work of CBHWs and the feasibility of using this health cadre to administer IPTp to pregnant women. The Study sought to understand provider opinions to design an IPTp-SP intervention involving CBHWs.

Qualitative analysis identified common themes in the open-ended responses. Providers like the CBHW program, noting that “CBHWs come from the community” and help with language barriers. However, CBHWs are not always available or move frequently from one community to another. A few male providers noted issues with timely payment of stipends to CBHWs.

Most providers were open to CBHWs providing IPTp-SP to pregnant women: “It will reduce [our] workload.” Unlike female providers, some male providers stressed the need for CBHWs to be “well trained.”

Providers commented that CBHWs were needed and could contribute. For example CBHWs could increase the uptake of IPTp-SP, prevent deaths and malaria, educate women and the community, and prevent stock-outs of SP. While CBHWs do not currently provide IPTp-SP, several providers noted that CBHWs already conduct community education sessions with pregnant women on taking IPTp-SP.

A few noted that CBHWs already monitor adherence to IPTp-SP doses and send women to the health facility when doses are needed. Providers expressed the importance of including information on malaria prevention and treatment, IPTp-SP administration, stock management, and data collection in the CBHW training.

The findings guided discussions and planning with both district and CSPS staff in the design of the CBHW training and IPTp-SP intervention. The results led to development of the training-of-trainers process that started with the district health team, who then trained CSPS staff—the CSPS staff then trained CBHWs.

Gaining the frontline staff’s acceptance of and perceptions about CBHWs—and building on them—will hopefully lead to greater ownership and better management of project implementation at the community level.

This poster was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under the terms of the Cooperative Agreement AID-OAA-A-14-00028. The contents are the responsibility of the Maternal and Child Survival Program and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, PMI, or the United States Government.

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