Motivating school communities towards behavior change and local ownership: a gamification intervention to prevent trachoma at primary schools in southern Ethiopia

Naomi Caplan, Bharat C. Sanka, Asmro Mulat, Dorin Turgeman Brener, Sarit Baum, Azeb Seifu, Nisan Z. Kesete, Michal Bruck, Leah G. Wohlgemuth, Melaku M. Debela, Reut Barak Weekes, Galia Sabar, Zvi Bentwich, Rachel Golan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Ethiopia alone carries 49% of the global burden of trachoma, associated with a lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and poor health practices. The aim of this study was to examine whether gamification among schoolchildren and promotion of local ownership of school WASH is associated with healthy behaviors and WASH infrastructure improvements. Methods: Application of the Accelerate gamification intervention for elimination of trachoma, with an emphasis on gamification among schoolchildren and community involvement in motivating face-washing, handwashing and functional use of latrines, was undertaken. Results: The study was conducted over 9 mo in 223 rural schools from six districts within the intervention area, reaching 93 518 schoolchildren. At baseline, students were observed washing their hands after using latrines in 23 (10.3%) schools. This increased to 132 (59%) schools (p≤0.001) at follow-up. The number of latrines increased from 585 at baseline to 594 at follow-up (p=0.031). The availability of handwashing stations in schools increased from 31 (13.9%) with water access (8%) and soap (5%) to 155 (69.5%) schools with handwashing stations with water access in 153 (98.7%) (p<0.001) and soap in 121 (78%) (p<0.001). Conclusions: Motivational strategies such as gamification among schoolchildren and promotion of local ownership of school WASH may be associated with healthy behaviors and WASH infrastructure improvements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)ii38-ii43
JournalInternational Health
Volume15
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • WASH
  • behavior change
  • champions
  • gamification
  • schoolchildren
  • trachoma

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