Background: An innovative strategy to combat malaria was tested with a methodology adapted to a complex setting in the Amazon region and a hard-to-reach, mobile population. The intervention strategy tested was the distribution, after training, of self-diagnosis and self-treatment kits to gold miners who cross the Surinamese and Brazilian borders with French Guiana to work illegally in the remote mining sites in the forest of this French overseas territory. The main evaluation criterion was the reported behavioral change in case of malaria symptoms, measured by pre- and post-intervention surveys.
Method: This article informs on the quality of delivery, content adherence and facilitation strategies, exposure to the intervention, participants responsiveness and unintended consequences. The information sources are the post-intervention survey, a short data collection carried out in a very isolated gold mining site, continuous data collection during the intervention, observations made during supervision visits, and in-depth feedback from the project players.
Results and Discussion: As expected, being part of or close to the study community was an essential condition for facilitators to overcome the usual wariness of this population. Regarding the content of the delivered messages, the main issue with facilitators was the excess of information rather than the omission of information but was corrected over time. The content of the intervention was overall in line with what was planned. With an estimation of one third of the population reached, the exposure was satisfactory considering the challenging context, but improvable by increasing ad hoc offsite distribution according to the needs. Participants’ responsiveness was the main strength of the intervention but could be enhanced by reducing the duration of the process to get a kit, which can be disincentive in some places. The expected decrease in malaria became a source of reduced interest in the kit. Expanding the remit of facilitators may be a suitable response. Better integration of the articulation with the existing malaria management services is recommended for sustainability.
Conclusion: These findings provide valuable implementation outcomes to complement the evaluation outcomes for assessing the relevance of the strategy and information useful to sustain and transfer it in analogous contexts.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov
Registration number: NCT03695770
Date of registration: 10/02/2018 “Retrospectively registered”