The OUCRU Malaria Group conducted a targeted chemo-elimination (TCE) trial to evaluate its potential to eradicate malaria in areas of suspected or proven Artemisinin resistance in Southeast Asia. The most challenging issue for this study was community participation – the protocol demanded high levels of community enrolment and high levels of study retention. The study community in Ninh Thuan province were ethnic minority people, living in rural, poor, and under-serviced areas.
Through this engagement project, we aimed to enhance community participation in our TCE project by strengthening mutual understanding and trust. Through providing a mobile library we created opportunities for children and teenagers to access books and media to improve their basic knowledge on malaria, as well as providing a chance to discuss research activities in an informal manner.
This mobile library held a comic book about mosquitoes (“The Little Enemies”), and other science and health books for children. We also conducted drama performances at two elementary schools in Ninh Thuan province reaching about 500 children and 300 adults. Posters and video clips about malaria transmission and prevention were shown, enabling community members to discuss malaria and the trial with the researchers directly. As well as benefiting the local community and enhancing the research, this project helped the study team gain a greater understanding of and empathy with their research communities.