A mixed method analysis of the Botswana schistosomiasis control policy and plans using the policy triangle framework.
Background: The present goal of the World Health Organization (WHO) 2021-2030 roadmap for Neglected Tropical Diseases is to eliminate schistosomiasis as a public health problem, and reduce its prevalence of heavy infections to less than 1%. Given the evolution and impact of schistosomiasis in the Ngamiland district of Botswana, the aim of this study was to analyze the control policies for the district using the Policy Triangle Framework.
Methods: The study used a mixed method approaches of an analysis of policy documents and interviews with 12 informants who were purposively selected. Although the informants were recruited from all levels of the NTD sector, the analysis of the program was predominantly from the Ngamiland district. Data were analyzed using Braun and Clarke's approach to content analysis.
Results: The study highlights the presence of clear, objectives and targets for the Ngamiland control policy. Another theme was the success in morbidity control, which was realized primarily through cycles of MDA in schools. The contextual background for the policy was high morbidity and lack of programming data. The implementation process of the policy was centralized at the Ministry of Health (MOH) and WHO, and there was minimal involvement of the communities and other stakeholders. The policy implementation process was impeded by a lack of domestic resources and lack of comprehensive policy content on snail control and no expansion of the policy content beyond SAC. The actors were predominately MOH headquarters and WHO, with little representation of the district, local level settings, NGOs, and private sectors.
Conclusions: The lack of resources and content in the control of environmental determinants and exclusion of other at-risk groups in the policy, impeded sustained elimination of the disease. There is a need to guide the treatment of preschool-aged children and develop national guidelines on treating foci of intense transmission. Moreover, the dynamic of the environmental transmissions and reorientation of the schistosomiasis policy to respond to the burden of schistosomiasis morbidity, local context, and health system context are required.