Longitudinal analysis of case reports confirms that despite many years of public health interventions, cholera remains a recurring and major risk to vulnerable communities in the country.
To better inform emergency health intervention programmes, Africa’s Voices collaborated with researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Centre of Governance and Human Rights to evaluate our interactive radio approach to better understand perceptions of cholera risk and preparedness.
The project was part of a two-phase piece of work funded by Wellcome Trust and the Department for International Development (DfID), focusing on infectious disease outbreaks and emergency contexts. The first phase was completed in Cape Verde in 2017 and focused on Zika. The second phase, which took place between March – October 2018, centred around cholera in Somalia.
Building on our established partnership with Somali NGO Media INK and previous work with UNICEF, the project evaluated interactive radio and SMS as a means of understanding perceptions of cholera risk and preparedness among communities in the South Central Zone of Somalia. The data could serve as an early warning ahead of an outbreak but also point to specific socio-cultural factors that could influence a programmatic intervention during a future cholera outbreak.
Over the course of five weeks, we heard from 6,688 people in Mogadishu, Kismayo, Baidoa, and Beledweyne who sent in 12,005 messages in response to open-ended questions posed on interactive radio shows. 45% of them were women, 23% were displaced, and 70% under the age of 25.
63% (2,459 people) perceived their communities to be at risk of cholera. Most of them were rural dwellers. Hygiene (or lack of) was the primary reason for feeling protected or at risk, suggesting that broad knowledge of cholera risk factors is high.