Community-based distribution of ivermectin and other drugs requires people in the endemic communities who are capable of distributing the drug. It is essential also to collect information on local people’s views concerning different financing mechanisms and approaches to distributing ivermectin. However, studies at household level are resource-intensive. Eliciting the preferences of the community by interviewing a smaller number of community leaders offers an alternative strategy. A comparison of information from community leaders and household heads on the financing and distribution of ivermectin through communities was conducted in three communities in Nigeria to determine whether rapidly collected information from key community leaders could represent broad community preferences. The preferences of community leaders and household heads were comparable in relation to the method of collecting payments, managing payments and making payments, who should set the level of payments and the drug distribution mechanisms. However, there were differences between community leaders’ views and those of heads of households concerning how the scheme should be supervised. This study has shown that community leaders’ views can only be used as a partial substitute for more laborious methods of data collection insofar as they have the attraction of being quicker and less costly to use. However, they should not be assumed to be identical with the views of the community as a whole.
Journal of Health Services Research & Policy 08/1999; 4(3):133-8. DOI:10.1177/135581969900400303