Evaluation of malaria infection among primary school pupils in urban and rural areas in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State Nigeria
Malaria Prevalence was studied among 250 pupils in two selected primary school between May to September 2015. Various blood samples were collected from pupils between the ages of 2 to 13 years. Thick and thin blood smears were prepared stained and examined microscopically for malaria parasites. Structured questionnaires were used to gather socio-demographic data, knowledge, attitude and practices of respondents regarding malaria. Out of 250 pupils examined 193 (77.20%) were infected with plasmodium, St. Theresa’s Primary School Ikot Osurua had a higher (71%) prevalence than those of St. Peter’s Primary School Ikot Inyang (81.40%). This was statistically significant (P<0.05). More females (82.90%) than males (70.81%) were infected though the difference was not statistically significant (P>0.05). Age groups 5 – 7 years had the highest (84.62%) prevalence, followed by 2 – 4 years (79.41%) than 8 – 10 years (76.19%) while 11 -13 years had the lowest (66.67%). This was not statistically significant. (P>0.05). Responses from questionnaires revealed that most respondents (83%) reported mosquito bites to be the cause of malaria infection, some (9.9%) attributes malaria to oily food while few (5%) reported the cause of malaria to be drinking dirty water. Many of the respondents should have adequate knowledge of the signs and symptoms. Fever (44.5%), dizziness (15.5%), Nausea (11%), cough (10%), vomiting (7.5%) were some of the symptoms reported. Preventive measures adopted by respondents revealed that majority (39%) use mosquito coils, some (31%) use insecticide spray, few (18.5%) use insecticide bed nets while others (11.5%) makes use of mosquito window nets. For treatment and management of malaria, most respondents visit patent medical store, while some ((48.5%) diagnose malaria in children through selfexamination and child’s complain (10.5%). While very few carry out laboratory tests. This study has shown that knowledge on management and preventive practices on malaria are very low in endemic areas. There is need for public health education programme and awareness for proper control of malaria.
Keywords: Malaria, Pupils, Caregivers, Knowledge, Management Practices