Social marketing interventions for the prevention and control of neglected tropical diseases: A systematic review.
BACKGROUND: Social marketing is an approach to behavior change that contributes to disease prevention and control. This study aimed to understand how social marketing interventions have addressed neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). It examined the characteristics, breadth of coverage, and outcomes of social marketing interventions focused on the prevention and control of these diseases.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Studies published in any language between January 1971 and April 2017, targeting at least one of the 17 NTDs prioritized in the World Health Organization (WHO) NTD Roadmap were considered. Included studies had interventions that applied both, at least one core social marketing concept, "social behavioral influence", and one social marketing technique, "integrated intervention mix", described in the Hierarchical Model of Social Marketing. This review is registered with PROSPERO CRD42017063858. Twenty interventions, addressing eight NTDs, met the inclusion criteria. They focused on behaviors related to four of the five WHO public health strategies for NTDs. Most interventions incorporated the concepts "relationship building" and "public / people orientation focus", and the technique "insight-driven segmentation". All the interventions reported changing behavioral determinants such as knowledge, 19 reported behavior change, and four influenced health outcomes.
CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Evidence from this study shows that social marketing has been successfully used to address behaviors related to most of the five public health strategic interventions for NTDs recommended by the WHO. It is suggested that social marketing interventions for the prevention and control of NTDs be grounded on an understanding of the audience and adapted to the contexts intervened. Building stakeholder relationships as early as possible, and involving the publics could help in reaching NTD outcomes. Elements of the intervention mix should be integrated and mutually supportive. Incorporating health education and capacity building, as well as being culturally appropriate, is also relevant. It is recommended that ongoing discussions to formulate the targets and milestones of the new global Roadmap for NTDs integrate social marketing as an approach to overcome these diseases.