Mitchell centre Seminar series
|Dates:||26 October 2022|
|Times:||16:00 - 18:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
University of Birmingham
Using stochastic actor-oriented models to study the adoption of Malaria preventive measures in rural India
Following a substantial reduction in the global incidence of malaria between 2001 and 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) set the ambitious goal of eliminating the disease by 2030. However, malaria reduction has not happened uniformly, and there is still a disproportionate risk of infection among hard-to-reach populations. Interventions to reduce malaria incidence in these contexts have mainly focused on the provision of preventive tools that protect individuals from mosquito bites indoors (e.g. bed nets) and outdoors (e.g. gloves). Most studies that measure the uptake of preventive tools focus on individual or household characteristics. Less attention has been paid to the role of social networks in the diffusion of protection from mosquito bites.
This study aims to observe and analyse the rate of adoption of malaria preventive measures in ten indigenous villages in Meghalaya, India where malaria is still endemic. Through face-to-face interviews, we collected data on villagers’ adoption of eight preventive measures along with their health-related communication networks and socio-demographic characteristics. We jointly analyse adoption and communication patterns in each village as a multilevel network. We fit stationary stochastic actor-oriented models (SAOMs) to explore the social and individual factors influencing the adoption of measures. Our results indicate that communication networks may play an important role in shaping behaviour in the observed villages.
While they are based on cross-sectional data, our findings are in line with social contagion theories that state that health behaviours need reinforced network exposure to be adopted. We find only sporadic evidence of the importance of talking to the Ashas (the local nurses) or the Traditional Healers. This indicates that interventions promoting the use of protective measures cannot rely solely on these figures, despite their centrality in the village social networks.
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