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Social Determinants Influencing Access to Malaria Services

A Formative study in NTT, Papua, and West Papua

Empatika was commissioned by UNICEF to undertake formative research to understand the factors affecting access to malaria services in high endemic settings and support the search for local solutions. The findings are expected to feed into discussions for the National Malaria Control Programme's communication strategy. The research was implemented through adapted immersions and people-driven design (PDD).

This study was conducted in eight locations across four districts: South West Sumba, NTT; Manokwari, West Papua; and Mimika and Jayapura, Papua. Community level PDD workshops were facilitated in four of the study communities which intended to develop workable solutions to encourage behaviour change based on what people in communities considered relevant, relatable and do-able with the resources they already have.

Some of the key insights included:

  • People shared with us that almost everyone has contracted malaria at least once.

  • Because malaria was infrequently contracted by adults and death almost never happened due to effective medications being available, people were not highly concerned about contracting malaria.

  • Compared to malaria, there were other diseases that people in the study locations were more concerned about.

  • Most people did not think malaria could be eliminated from their area. 

  • Men tended to self-diagnose more, and when taking medicines men tended not to finish them compared to women. 

  • Mothers usually made the family health decisions e.g. seeking treatment for malaria and other diseases, and making sure their children finish all their medications.

  • When it came to what caused malaria, people had a variety of ideas with mosquito bites not being the first thing that came to their mind.​


South West Sumba, NTT; Manokwari, West Papua; Mimika and Jayapura, Papua


Adapted Immersion, People-Driven Design


Families, health providers, and community members

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