Objective: To document the process, outcome and effectiveness of a community-based intervention for dengue control.
Methods: The primary intervention, focused on strengthening intersectoral coordination, was initiated by researchers in January 2000 in a pilot area in Playa municipality, Havana. In August 2002 health authorities extended the intervention to neighbouring areas, one of which was selected for evaluation. In August 2003 a complementary strategy, focused on community empowerment, was initiated in half of the pilot area. In our control area, routine dengue activities continued throughout the study period. Longitudinal process assessment was carried out using document analysis, interviews and group discussions. Random population surveys in 1999, 2002 and 2005 assessed levels of participation and behavioural changes. Entomological surveillance data from 1999 to 2005 were used to determine effectiveness.
Results: Mean scores for participation in the pilot area were 1.6, 3.4 and 4.4 at baseline, and 2 years after initiating intersectoral coordination and intersectoral coordination plus community empowerment interventions, respectively. While in the control area little behavioural change was observed over time, changes were considerable in the pilot and extension areas, with 80% of households involved in the community empowerment intervention showed adequate behavioural patterns. The pilot and extension areas attained comparable entomological effectiveness with significantly lower Breteau indices (BIs) than the control area. The pilot (sub-) area with the community empowerment intervention reached BIs below 0.1 that continued to be significantly lower than the one in the control area until the end of the study.
Conclusion: The study showed a trend in the levels and quality of participation, behavioural change and effectiveness of Aedes control from the routine activities only over an intervention with intersectoral coordination to one that combined intersectoral coordination and community empowerment approach.