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Objectives: This study aimed to assess communities’ perception and adoption of the evidenced-based malaria diagnosis and case management intervention targeted at under-five children. The effectiveness of trained Volunteer Community Health Workers (VCHWs) to diagnose malaria among under-five children using rapid diagnostic testing kit, provide treatment using Artemisinin Combination Therapy and rectal Artesunate were assessed.
Design: A qualitative evaluation study was conducted in October 2015.
Setting: Communities in the 6 rural wards in Ona-Ara Local Government Area, Oyo State Nigeria.
Participants: Caregivers of under-five children, community–based frontline health workers, and community leaders selected using purposively sampling.
Methods: Nine Focus Group Discussions and 15 Key Informant Interviews were conducted using a pre-tested guide. Data were subjected to thematic analysis.
Results: It was disclosed that VCHWs promoted people’s access to prompt and appropriate malaria treatment. The communities accepted the VCHWs; the reasons given for this included the following: effectiveness of VCHWs in case management of malaria; good inter-personal relationship with caregivers; and the positive health outcomes associated with services provided by them. In addition, community members expressed satisfaction with the VCHWs and provided them with all the support needed to function throughout the malaria case management intervention. The VCHWs considered the support as a great source of encouragement.
Conclusions: The use of VCHWs to treat malaria was adjudged to be effective and considered acceptable to the communities. The adoption of the intervention and its integration into the primary health system by the government is advocated for in medically underserved rural communities.