Knowledge, Attitude and Practice About Malaria, the Mosquito and Antimalarial Drugs in a Rural Community

  • Wakgari Deressa
  • Ahmed Ali
  • Fikre Enquoselassie


Background: Community perceptions relating to causation, diagnosis, treatment and prevention are the main socio-cultural factors which can influence malaria prevention and control.

Objective: To assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices of a rural community on malaria, the mosquito vector and antimalarial drugs.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of 630 randomly selected rural households was carried out in 6 peasant associations' of Butajira District in southern Ethiopia between January and September 1999.

Results: Fever, headaches, chills and shivering were the most frequently mentioned symptoms of malaria reported by 89.7%, 87.5% and 81.3% of the study subjects, respectively. About 66% of the study community related the mode of transmission to the bite of infective mosquitoes and 43.7% of them believed that malaria could be transmitted from person to person through the bite of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are mainly believed to bite human beings at night (73.2%), breed in stagnant water (71%) and rest in dark places inside houses during daytime (44.3%). Malaria was thought to be preventable by 85.7% of the respondents. Of them, 62.4% reported chemoprophylaxis, 39.6% mentioned indoor residual spraying and 25% indicated eliminating breeding sites as preventive methods. The use of modern drugs for malaria was high (92%) including chloroquine (73.5%) and Sulfadoxine-Pyremethamine (60.6%). Chloroquine was believed to be effective for the treatment of malaria by 59% of the respondents, while the remaining replied that it was ineffective. Four hundred two (63.8%) respondents reported Sulfadoxine-Pyremethamine to be the most effective antimalarial drug for the treatment of malaria in contrast to others.

Conclusions: Study subjects are familiar with the symptoms of malaria and to a lesser degree, are aware of an association between mosquito and malaria. Health workers at different levels of the health care delivery system should disseminate relevant information about malaria to help community members to be involved more in malaria control.

[Ethiop.J.Health Dev. 17(2):99-104]

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eISSN: 1021-6790