Parents’ perceptions, attitudes and acceptability of Treatment of childhood malaria with artemisinin combination therapies in Ghana
AbstractBackground: There is little information on sociocultural and contextual factors that may influence attitudes of patients to new treatments, such as artemisinin combination therapies (ACT). Methods: Semi-structured questionnaires and focus group discussions were used to assess views of parents of children with uncomplicated malaria treated with ACT in a low socio-economic area in Accra, Ghana. Results: The majority of parents reported a favourable experience, in terms of perceived i) rapidity of symptom resolution, compared to their previous experience
of other therapies for childhood malaria, or ii) when their experience was compared that of parents of children treated with monotherapy. The parents of children treated with ACT were more willing to pay for the
treatment, or adhere to the full treatment course. The explanations given for adherence were consistent with conventional biomedical explanations. Although careseeking practices for childhood malaria were considered appropriate, perceived or real barriers to accessible
health care were also important factors in the decision to seek treatment. Household dynamics and perceived inequities at the care-provider-patient interface were identified as having potential negative impact on care-seeking practices and adherence.
Conclusions: Health education messages aimed at improving
the response to childhood febrile illness should include other strategic stakeholders, such as decisionmakers at the household level. The effectiveness and implementation success of the ACT policy could be
enhanced by highlighting and reinforcing messages intrinsic to these regimens. Integrating the views of caretakers during the clinical encounter was validated as an empowerment tool that could aid in the appropriate responses to childhood illness.
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