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Current strategies and successes in engaging women in vector control: a systematic review


Introduction Vector-borne diseases (VBDs) cause significant mortality and morbidity in low-income and middle-income countries and present a risk to high-income countries. Vector control programmes may confront social and cultural norms that impede their execution. Anecdotal evidence suggests that incorporating women in the design, delivery and adoption of health interventions increases acceptance and compliance. A better understanding of programmes that have attempted to increase women’s involvement in vector control could help shape best practices. The objective of this systematic review was to assess and critically summarise evidence regarding the effectiveness of women participating in vector control.

Methods Seven databases were searched from inception to 21 December 2015. Two investigators independently reviewed all titles and abstracts for relevant articles. Grey literature was searched by assessing websites that focus on international development and vector control.

Results In total, 23 articles representing 17 unique studies were included in this review. Studies discussed the involvement of women in the control of vectors for malaria (n=10), dengue (n=8), human African trypanosomiasis (n=3), schistosomiasis (n=1) and a combination (malaria and schistosomiasis, n=1). Seven programmes were found in the grey literature or through personal communications. Available literature indicates that women can be successfully engaged in vector control programmes and, when given the opportunity, they can create and sustain businesses that aim to decrease the burden of VBDs in their communities.

Conclusion This systematic review demonstrated that women can be successfully engaged in vector control programmes at the community level. However, rigorous comparative effectiveness studies need to be conducted.

  • infections, diseases, disorders, injuries
  • systematic review
  • dengue
  • malaria
  • prevention strategies

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