Research to increase drug access among pastoralists

Research to increase drug access among pastoralists
The presentation of the KU’s research on Mass Drug Administration in Juba brought together academicians from different backgrounds. [Photo: Alex Bullen, City Review]

Experts have called for usage of persons of influence such as chiefs and cattle camp leaders as role models in ingesting the drugs during Mass Drug Administration (MDAs) as this will increase trust of the community on the safety of the drugs being provided.

This was among a raft of recommendations presented by Kampala University College – Juba Campus to stakeholders, and part of the research the learning institution has been doing on the best possible practices in executing MDAs that should keep away Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) such as Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm Disease), Soil-transmitted Helminths (STH), (iAscaris, Hookworm, and Whipworm) etc.

It is estimated that close 70 per cent of the population in South Sudan are involved in pastoralism, and that is why the study sought to explore the socio-cultural obstacles and motivators in relation to NTDs and MDA uptake among the pastoralist communities

The research also proposes investment in the interpersonal communication mechanisms for community engagement and dialogue and mobilization in the various communities to complement and foster discussion of the radio messages on NTDs and MDA

“Gender transformative programming should be integrated in health, NTD, and MDA programmes among pastoralist to challenge gender norms, power relations,  and promote positions of social and political influence for women in communities,” reads the recommendations from the research in part.

Faisal Juuko, KU Juba Campus Principal, said his college’s research on Mass Drug Administration will raise awareness among pastoralist communities so that tangible actions could be taken to address the challenges they face.

He said it was the third time such similar research been conducted by KU, in partnership with the Ministry of Health which he said came out the positive.

According to the Principal, the research focused on ways to increase mass medicine administration among pastoralist groups across the country.

He stated that someone must constantly understand that a university’s power cannot be measured by its numbers, but rather by the quality of its research.

Meanwhile, Dr. John Rumunu, Director General of the Ministry of Health’s Directorate of Preventive Health Services, thanked the researchers for delivering such valuable information on Missi Drug Administration.

“As the ministry of health, we are glad to be a part of this presentation, and we look forward to continuing to work to solve some of these health challenges in our communities,” Dr. Rumunu said.

The operational search was conducted by Kampala University in collaboration with South Sudan’s Ministry of Health (MoH) and funding from the Christian Blind Mission (CBM).

The study aims to give information on pastoralists in the areas of migration patterns, leadership structures, social norms connected with NTDs, and mass drug administration, according to the group (MDA), Obstacles and motivators for MDA participation, as well as the applicability of existing BCC methods.