In the fall of 2016, Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) won a highly competitive award under the Combating Zika and Future Threats Grand Challenge through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop an innovative tool to turn the tide against Zika and future disease outbreaks.
CCP partnered with Catalyst Behavioral Sciences to develop R-SHOT (Rapid Strategic Habit Optimization Tool), a prototype rapid data analysis tool to help vector control teams change behaviors in their communities to reduce the risk of Zika. The tool uses a computer algorithm to identify the specific drivers of behavior change that public health officials should emphasize in their messaging based on specific characteristics of each community.
The R-SHOT is a simple field tool combining use of local data with evidence-based principles and theory-driven analysis to recommend the optimal habit formation and motivational tactics for changing behaviors in households. In a field trial of the tool in Honduras, interventions developed with the R-SHOT—which leveraged drivers of behavior change—were shown to be nearly three times more effective in changing household behaviors than interventions that used traditional methods.
In Honduras, the goal of the R-SHOT is to aid health teams that conduct household visits with the promotion of the “Untadita,” a recommended step-wise method for cleaning household water storage containers that, when done correctly, destroys the eggs of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that spread Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases. This approach effectively reduces Aedes aegypti breeding sites in the home.
The R-SHOT prototype proof of concept is a breakthrough in rapid strategic analysis and interpretation of behavioral data. CCP is actively seeking future partnerships to develop and test the R-SHOT for additional behaviors and in new contexts.