Community awareness about malaria, its treatment and mosquito vector in rural highlands of central Ethiopia
AbstractBackground: Despite the rapid expansion of malaria into highland areas of Ethiopia and the movement of malaria inexperienced people to endemic areas, there is no enough information about how highland communities perceive malaria.
Objective: To assess communities’ awareness of malaria and its mosquito vector in highland rural communities of central Ethiopia.
Methods: A community-based cross–sectional survey involved 770 heads of household was conducted during September 2005 to February 2006 in nine peasant associations of five purposely selected districts in highland areas where malaria has been recently introduced, or currently free from the disease.
Results: The majority of the study participants knew that malaria is a serious disease that can attack all age groups of a population (81.0%). A considerable number of individuals, 357 (47.5%) responded that they visited malarious area and about 50% of these individuals reported that they or their families had got the disease. A large proportion of
participants (81.6%) mentioned that mosquito transmits malaria through biting (91.6%), while 176 (42.6%) individuals are aware that mosquitoes bite during night. Participants from Sheno, Muka Turi and Sululita areas were found to better in associating the cause of malaria with mosquito bites than those participants from Ginchi and Holeta areas (p <
0.05). In contrast, participants from Ginchi area were found to better in identifying the common signs/symptoms of malaria and recommending modern antimalarial drug for treatment than participants from other localities (p< 0.05). Some of the respondents believed that mosquito bites or landing can be prevented using various methods like mosquito
net, eating or keeping garlic in pocket, while more than half (67.1%) of the participants had no information about preventive methods of mosquito bites.
Conclusion: Communities residing in the highland of the present study areas were aware that malaria is a serious disease. However, they had no clear information about its cause, mode of transmission and preventive methods.
Hence, emphasis should be given to increase community awareness through implementation of appropriate health education program for prevention and control of the disease from expanding into highland areas of Ethiopia.