Barriers and enablers of community engagement practices for the prevention of snakebite envenoming in South Asia: A qualitative exploratory study
Snakebite envenoming (SBE) is a grossly neglected tropical disease (NTD) that predominantly affects those living in rural settings in low-and-middle income countries. South Asia currently accounts for the highest global SBE-related mortality, and substantial morbidity rates. To alleviate the high burden in the region, community engagement (CE) is considered to be an integral component for optimizing SBE prevention and control. To better understand existing CE practices for SBE in the region, the experiences of SBE-CE actors concerning the barriers to, and enablers of CE practices were captured through semi-structured interviews. Fifteen key informants from India, Bangladesh and Nepal participated in the study. Important enablers included providing innovative, inclusive and continuous methods and materials, carefully planning of programs, performing monitoring and evaluation, SBE data availability, motivated and trained staff members, good organizational reputations, communication with other SBE-actors, collaborations, and the involvement of the government. Substantial barriers comprised a lack of SBE data, lack of innovative methods and materials for educational purposes, a shortage of human and physical resources, community resistance, untrained health care workers (HCWs), and ineffective traditional healing practices. In order to optimize and sustain SBE-CE practices, context-sensitive, multi-faceted approaches are needed that incorporate all these factors which influence its sustainable implementation.