BACKGROUND: As the arboviral diseases dengue, chikungunya and Zika emerge in the Americas, so does the need for sustainable vector control policies. To successfully achieve mosquito control, joint efforts of both communities and governments are essential. This study investigates this important, but by-and-large neglected topic.
METHODS: In June and July 2015, a cross-sectional mixed methods study applying a survey questionnaire (response rate of 82.5%; n = 339), in-depth interviews (n = 20) and focus group discussions (n = 7; 50 participants) was performed in Curaçao. The study was designed based on an integrated theoretical framework of the Health Belief Model and the Theory of Planned Behaviour.
RESULTS: Participants showed a good knowledge of, and a high-level performance of mosquito breeding site control (MBSC) practices. Personal protection against mosquitoes (e.g. topical repellents) was perceived as relatively less effective thus practiced to lower extent compared to MBSC practices (i.e. larval source management). A lower intention to perform MBSC was independently associated with: (i) satisfaction on governmental MBSC (P = 0.012); (ii) barriers to perform MBSC practices, i.e. 'Government doesn't control other breeding sites' (P = 0.005), 'Don't know how to control breeding sites' (P = 0.041), and 'a mosquito does not transmit dengue' (P = 0.016), (iii) attitudes towards MBSC (P = 0.001) and self-efficacy (person's perceived ability to act) to perform MBSC (P = 0.002). Mixed-methods evidence highlights three possible ways of improving community participation in MBSC. First, it highlights the need for ongoing media coverage, targeting (i) communities' perceptions on transmission routes of dengue and chikungunya, and (ii) presence of car tires in yards. Secondly, it shows that promotion of governmental activities in MBSC can enhance MBSC of communities, if people develop a sense of responsibility to perform MBSC at their own properties. Thirdly, this study describes the presence of key persons in communities, who could be engaged in mosquito control policies to improve MBSC in neighbourhoods.
CONCLUSION: This study reveals gaps between policy and communities' lived realities. These gaps might be overcome with the proposed interventions, resulting in a higher performance of MBSC in the community in Curaçao. Furthermore, this study shows how interdisciplinary mixed methods research can provide important, comprehensive, and in-depth insights to inform mosquito control policies.