Background: While great strides have been achieved in fighting malaria through the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) strategy, the recent world malaria report shows an increase in malaria-related deaths compared to previous years. Malaria control tools are efficacious and effective in preventing the disease; however, the human behaviour aspect of the intervention strategies is weak due to heavy reliance on positive human health behaviour. The challenge lies in adoption of control interventions by the target population which, to an extent, may include access to prevention and treatment tools. We present a qualitative assessment of the use of the Health Animator (HA) model for Information, Education and Communication (IEC) to improve adoption and use of malaria control by promoting positive health behaviours. Results: We conducted 3 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and 23 individual in-depth interviews (IDIs) with HAs. Each FGD consisted of 8 participants. Data was analysed using QSR International NVivo 10 software. There are four main themes emerging regarding HA experiences. The perceptions include; collaborative work experience, personal motivation and growth, community participation with health animation and challenges with implementation. Results suggest that HAs were pleased with the training as they gained new information regarding malaria, which affected their use of malaria control interventions within their families. Knowledge was well assimilated from the trainings and influenced personal growth in becoming a community leader. Support from the leadership within the village and the health system was important in legitimising the main messages. The community responded positively to the workshops valued the information imparted. The voluntary nature of the work in a poverty-stricken community affected sustainability. Conclusions: There is need to empower communities with strategies within their reach. Functioning traditional social support structures are a crucial element in sustainability. Voluntarism is also key for sustainability, especially for rural and remote communities with limited sources of income.
- Behaviour change communication
- Community engagement
- Community health animator
- Health animation
- Health education