Tanzania Journal of Health Research

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Community directed approach beyond ivermectin in Tanzania: a promising mechanism for the delivery of complex health interventions

P Mutalemwa, WN Kisinza, WJ Kisoka, S Kilima, J Njau, F Tenu, T Nkya, SM Magesa


The Community Directed Intervention (CDI) is currently used for Ivermectin distribution for the treatment of onchocerciasis in Africa. This study was carried out to determine the extent to which the CDI process can be used for the delivery of other health interventions with different degrees of complexity. The study was conducted in fi ve districts of Kilosa, Muheza, Lushoto, Korogwe and Ulanga in Tanzania and involved communities, health facility and district healthcare providers. Implementation of CDI across these health interventions involved addressing six major processes, namely, stakeholder processes, health system dynamics, engaging communities, empowering communities, engaging CDI implementers and broader system effects. Community and health systems changes were triggered, such that the inherent value of community involvement and empowerment could be internalized by communities and health workers, leading to a more receptive health system. The CDI process was accepted at the community levels as many were willing and ready to adopt the approach. Health workers at community levels were readily available
and supportive of the process. Additionally, noted were the verifi ed willingness and ability of community implementers to deliver multiple interventions; confi rmed effi ciency of CDI leading to cost savings at health systems level; increasing interest of the health system in CDI; interest of health workers in the process of integrated planning. However, there were factors that may have a negative influence on the CDI process. Drug and supply policy for CDI process was lacking at the national and district levels and the presence of parallel community-based programmes that provide financial incentives for community members to run them discouraged Community-directed distributors who in most cases are volunteers. In conclusion, the results have clearly and evidently  demonstrated the potential of CDI approach for effectively and effi ciently control of other diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and childhood illnesses. The study has provided unique information on the feasibility
and effectiveness of integrated delivery of interventions at the community level.
AJOL African Journals Online