Tumaini Malenga


Summary: Interested in researching health in relation to social and economic development. My focus is on public health, specifically looking at influencers of health seeking behaviour, health behaviour change and maintenance. Received an MSc in International Development (social policy sciences) in 2010 from the University of Bath (UK). Currently a PhD Fellow with the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine. Thesis Title: “The Social Implications of Community Driven Malaria Control Interventions in a High Malaria Endemic Population: The Case for Majete Wildlife Reserve”. Research Context: my research is embedded in a multi-stakeholder community driven malaria control project with a multipronged randomized control trial. Using the WHO’s Roll Back Malaria strategy, vector control, rolling malaria indicator survey and behaviour change communication for malaria control. This, in a remote region with high malaria prevalence and poor health service facilities and access. My research focuses on assessing the influence of the Behaviour Change Communication on the change in health behaviour, and factors influencing a change and maintenance of positive behaviour. Problem Statement: advancement of scientific knowledge and technical expertise has not translated directly into efficient methods of malaria prevention and treatment. Impediments relating to socio-economic and socio-culturally influenced health behaviour have affected levels of uptake and use of preventative interventions. Literature on prevention recognizes the complexity of trying to understand the decision-making process with regards to health and malaria, and stresses the importance of understanding the structure and organization of society in determining the design of an effective intervention based on health behaviour. Recently the participatory method of community engagement has been promoted as a means of implementing development projects to increase uptake and use of health interventions. Community driven behaviour change mechanisms have been suggested as a tool that could reap some benefit in getting people to accept and adopt interventions with measurable success by engaging people to work together towards a mutually beneficial goal. Yet empirical evidence of the effectiveness of such interventions is mixed. There is the need now to understand the socio-cultural nuances in health seeking behaviour in the context of communal participation for a behavioural change intervention.