Community Perceptions and Practices in Management of Malaria in Under-five Children in Rivers State in Nigeria

  • CI Tobin-West
  • S Babatunde

Abstract

Purpose: To determine baseline information on the perceptions of the
causes and treatment of fevers suspected to be malaria in children less than five years in Rivers State, Nigeria in order to inform policy
recommendations that will improve malaria control programme in the State.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in nine local government
areas of the State through a multi-staged sampling, among parents and
caregivers. Interviews were carried out using a questionnaire on malaria
information adapted from WHO/ Federal Ministry of Health. Data was
analyzed using Epi-Info v6.04d software, and descriptive statistics were
computed with 95% Confidence Intervals for statistical inferences.
Results: A total of 811 mothers/caregivers participated in the survey. Of
these, 76.3% (95% CI=73.3–79.2) were aware that mosquitoes causes
malaria fever. Fever was the commonest illness reported among children
under five years two weeks preceding the survey (62.9%, 95% CI=59.5–
66.2). Majority of the caregivers (94.1%) reported taking actions within 24
hours of a child’s febrile illness by giving medications at home with drugs
purchased from Patent Medicine Vendors rather than visiting a nearby
health centre for treatment (53.3% (95% CI=49.6–57.0) versus 26.8% (95% CI=23.4–30.2). However, the drug mostly used for treatment was
chloroquine sulfate (33.6%, 95% CI=30.1–37.2) instead of  artemisininbased combined drugs 18.9%, 95% CI=16.8 – 21.9),
Conclusion: Caregivers knowledge and response time to fever was
reassuring that children can be reached promptly with more effective antimalaria treatment like artemisinin-based drugs, if community-directed
management options that utilizes trained community-based volunteers were introduced.
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eISSN: 1596-9819