In five of the most impoverished municipalities in Guerrero State, Mexico, the mechanisms and early impact of Micro-regional Planning were studied in a population of 77,000 people in 700 communities from 1992 to 1995. Micro-regional Planning translates local epidemiological research results through participatory analysis into information suitable for communication and local action planning. Outcomes are subsequently assessed and the results used to reinforce confidence and skills of the communities and municipal planners.
A variety of communication strategies was used to promote participation, based on local consultation about the channels most likely to be effective. In one municipality, health committees were formed and trained in the control of water quality. In another, health promoters were hired by the municipal authorities to communicate the results beyond their own communities; oral rehydration was promoted through a song taught to school children and water chlorination through house-to-house interpersonal discussions. In the poorest and most mountainous municipality, radio casera (home-made radio) soap operas were broadcast to each of the communities, using local “stars”. This was supplemented by broadcasts from the state-run regional radio station. In the largest and most disparate municipality, a child-to-family communication scheme was initiated by training teachers from primary and secondary schools. The impact of the various communication strategies was measured in terms of changing knowledge, household practices and uptake of services.
The use of liquids for children with diarrhoea increased significantly in four of the five communities. Diarrhoea prevalence was reduced by up to 14% where water treatment and the use of latrines were promoted. Survey data were used to obtain financing from UNDP, the British Council and the State government for local improvement projects.
Funding for this project was received from Canada’s International Development Research Centre.
The results of this study have been published as:
Arrizón A, Andersson N, Ledogar RJ. Micro-regional planning: evidence-based community buy-in for health development in five of Mexico’s poorest rural districts. BMC Health Services Research 2011, 11(Suppl 2):S2
and are available at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1472-6963-11-S2-S2.pdf .
Results of the project are also presented in the Master’s thesis
of Dr. Ascencio Villegas, also available in Spanish from the Library.