Promoting community participation in prophylactic measures against Leptospirosis following devastating floods in central Kerala: an exploratory study

Mammen P. Cherian, Abel K. Samuel Johnson, Marina Rajan Joseph, Joban John, Koshy M. Cherian


Background: Community capacity is superior in Kerala, making the people identify, mobilize, and address public health problems. The state of Kerala in South India was devastated by the 2018 August flood with cumulative rainfall of 2307 mm, 41% above the average rainfall received. Community participation helped to restore health with minimal post-flood morbidity. This paper intends to demonstrate the role of community participation in prophylaxis against Leptospirosis.

Methods:  As a part of post-flood recovery activity to prevent communicable diseases, the health system sought community health volunteers, local teachers, and philanthropic organizations. Training was given to volunteers to do preventive measures like chlorination of well water, provide leptospirosis prophylactic drugs based on the guidelines and promote the use of boiled water as well as personal and environmental hygiene. The health workers supervised preventive activities in the areas designated to the volunteers. Medical officers visited random houses to ensure quality and gave necessary instructions. The health staff counseled those who were unwilling for preventive measures. 

Results: The activity resulted in low incidence of leptospirosis cases (n=13; Incidence <0.02) in the population. 

Conclusion: Community engagement was effectively utilized by the public health system in disaster mitigation and control during this flood.


Community participation, Leptospirosis, Doxycycline, Prophylaxis

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