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Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs
Breakthrough ACTION Project Cameroon
Call for consultants to manage qualitative research of social, cultural, and individual barriers and determinants related to the adoption of key malaria prevention, care-seeking, and treatment behaviors.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP), on behalf of the Breakthrough ACTION project, seeks to hire a consultant to conduct qualitative research on malaria prevention, care-seeking, and treatment in the North and Extreme North regions of Cameroon, specifically relevant to children under five years of age and to pregnant women. As described in greater detail below, CCP intends to approach this research with methodologies informed by social and behavior change (SBC), human-centered design, and behavioral economics.
Breakthrough ACTION is a five-year global project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It is designed to build the capacity of organizations in developing countries to design and implement high-level SBC programs. The project is being implemented in several countries under the lead of CCP in collaboration with Save the Children, ideas42, ThinkPlace, and Camber Collective. In Cameroon, Breakthrough ACTION is implemented in the North and Far North Regions.
Malaria remains a serious health problem in Cameroon. Young children (under the age of five) and pregnant women are particularly at risk and contribute to more than 90% of deaths from malaria globally.
In regards to children under five, the identified best practice is that they should be taken for professional consultation within 24 hours of the onset of fever. Once in the health facility, providers should test children (and adults) with fever for malaria using an RDT or microscopy. Only when a malaria case is confirmed should they prescribe antimalarials. The treatment of severe malaria should be reserved for cases of severe malaria. However, relevant research from the 2018 DHS reports that 58.6% and 63.4% of children under five with fever in the past two weeks were taken to a caregiver for consultation and treatment in the Far North and North. Of these, 13.3 and 23.6% were tested for malaria with an RDT or microscopy. Excessive prescribing practices for ACTs and drugs for severe malaria have also been documented.
In regards to pregnant women, intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) has been identified as an effective and safe method to protect women against malaria during pregnancy. WHO currently recommends 4 doses of Sulfadoxime-Pyremethamine (SP) during pregnancy. However, relevant research from the 2018 DHS indicated that in the Northern region, only 30.3% of pregnant women and only 23.5% of pregnant women in the Far North regions received at least three doses of SP. In fact, only 64.5% (N) and 55.3% (FN) of pregnant women received a first dose. This may be due in part to poor access to health facilities, stock issues, social customs and beliefs or the practices of health care providers. Breakthrough ACTION will explore these barriers, beliefs, norms, and social practices from both the community perspective and the provider’s perspective to try to identify opportunities to increase the percentage of pregnant women receiving the recommended number of doses in the North and Far North Regions of Cameroon.
The main objective of this study is to identify the social, cultural, and individual determinants of as well as the relationship dynamics between community members, CHWs, and care providers that influence key behaviors for prevention and treatment of malaria among children under the age of five and pregnant women.
The results of this study will be used to:
CCP anticipates that the research activities will progress according to the following timeline (provided funding is available). These dates are not final. Please note that CCP expects the consultant to actively participate in each of these activities:
The successful candidate will have experience conducting qualitative research in Cameroon, preferably including qualitative research in the North and Extreme North regions. The successful candidate will be responsible for the following activities:
a) Participate in phone calls with the lead researcher and/or research team from Breakthrough ACTION in preparations for the workshops, training, and field work prior to field work.
b) Review study tools and documents to ensure they are technically sound and appropriate for the local context prior to the training.
c) Before the training, participate in a one-day intent workshop in Yaoundé with stakeholders and partners to establish the intent of this study.
d) Participate in a 3-5-day training workshop that will be organized and facilitated by the Breakthrough ACTION team.
e) Ensure that all key populations are represented at each collection site and participate in the study.
f) Participate in periodic follow-up meetings with the Breakthrough ACTION team and the principal investigator.
g) Obtain the consent of all participants according to the form validated by the ethics committee.
h) Ensure good quality of translations / transcriptions (especially translated transcripts of Fulfulde).
i) Provide all deliverables as indicated below. j) Participate in the 4-day Insights harvesting and validation workshop that will be organized by Breakthrough ACTION project in a residential hotel in Yaoundé
Candidates will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
All submissions should contain:
Letter of submission: A three-page maximum letter, in French or English, signed by the consultant. The letter must contain the name, mailing address, e-mail address, telephone number, and other relevant information of the submitting consultant. In addition, the letter of submission should include information related to the consultant’s ability to conduct the scope of work. This should include a description of experience with similar research methods (for social & behavior change communication, human-centered design, empathetic listening, synthesizing large amounts of qualitative data, and/or behavioral economics), and description of experience with ensuring ethical conduct of research. This must also include the daily fee of the consultant.
The consultant’s CV: the CV must mention previous studies, experience conducting qualitative research, and language proficiency for relevant languages of Northern Cameroon.
References: At least three professional references including email addresses and phone numbers; we will contact the references.
Appendices: Any other relevant information that could assist the selection team in evaluating the consultant may be attached.
Full applications (electronic copy) must be submitted no later than 31 January 2020 at 5:00 pm EST by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put in copy email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject of the e-mail should be "Cameroon malaria qualitative research". Applicants are encouraged to submit their proposals in French or English, whichever language they are more comfortable with.