Malaria is preventable and treatable, and yet it remains a significant public health problem around the world, particularly in Africa. Despite reductions in the burden of malaria over the past 20 years, recently these gains have stalled. To halt and overturn this trend current control methods need to be augmented with additional tools that are effective at reducing transmission, particularly in Africa where there is rising insecticide resistance and where outdoor biting vectors are becoming an increasing problem. A novel method that is currently being explored in clinical trials as a potential tool for malaria control is mass drug administration (MDA) with ivermectin at the start of the malaria transmission season. A large clinical trial designed to determine the efficacy of ivermectin MDA (iMDA) when given to humans and when given simultaneously to humans and livestock on malaria-related epidemiological outcomes was recently funded by UNITAID. This trial, the Broad One Health Endectocide Based Malaria Intervention in Africa (BOHEMIA) trial is being undertaken in Mozambique and a second arm of the trial will be undertaken during the malaria transmission season in 2023 in Kenya. Alongside the clinical trial are running a series of sub-studies, one of which is the social science sub-study.
The post-holder will join the team conducting the social science sub-study as part of the BOHEMIA trial in Kwale county, Kenya. The post holder will work closely with the BOHEMIA lead social scientist and social science research officer and other social science assistant research officers, supporting the development, coordination and implementation of the BOHEMIA social science protocol.
The overall aim of the BOHEMIA social science study is to describe the context and implementation of ivermectin mass drug administration (iMDA) in the BOHEMIA clinical trial in order to identify and understand what influences the uptake of iMDA as a strategy for the control of malaria in Kwale county, Kenya. The key objectives are:
i) to understand the local social, economic and political context to inform the development of appropriate community engagement and MDA distribution strategies;
ii) to describe individual and community experiences, perceptions and understanding of the community engagement activities undertaken for the BOHEMIA trial;
iii) to describe individual and community experiences, perceptions and understanding of the MDA activities and the effects of the MDA;
iv) to identify the likely drivers of adherence and non-adherence to the MDA;
v) to identify key local stakeholders and understand their perceptions of the utility of MDA as an additional tool for malaria control.
The post holder will contribute to the development of data collection tools, organize and conduct empiric work including primary data collection using an ethnographic approach, living in local communities and collecting data through non-participant observations, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, with community members. He/she will work together with social science research officer, the social science lead and other staff involved in the BOHEMIA study in Kwale and at the Kemri-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) in Kilifi. The post holder will also assist with management and analysis of data (including interview transcription) and developing written outputs.