How to engage communities on a large scale? Lessons from World Mosquito Program in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [version 2; peer review: 1 approved, 2 approved with reservations]

G. B. Costa, R. Smithyman, S. L. O'Neill and L. A. Moreira,  Gates Open Research,  2021.

One of the pillars of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Vector Control Response 2017–2030 strategy is the engagement of communities. Among the priority activities, defined by 2022 by the WHO, is the development of plans for the effective engagement and mobilisation of communities in vector control. Novel technologies for arboviruses control are being developed, such as the Wolbachia method, implemented by the World Mosquito Program (WMP). Here we discuss and analyse the framework for community engagement implemented by the WMP in Brazil, during the large-scale deployment of the method in the municipalities of Niterói and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Our experience indicates that the community engagement work for arboviruses control should be understood as an opportunity for local development. It is necessary, based on an integrated analysis of the territory, to understand that the actions for arboviruses control could be a catalyst for the necessary socioenvironmental, cultural and public health changes. Furthermore, it is essential to understand that community engagement goes beyond informing or asking for population consent, but it constitutes a possibility for dialogue and exchange between the various stakeholders present in the territories, to build on cooperation for mosquito-borne disease control.

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