Physicians’ compliance with malaria treatment guidelines of under-five children in a secondary maternal and child care centre in Lagos State
Background: The global malaria agenda has the ultimate goal of eliminating malaria in all countries of the world by 2030 through universal access to malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Presumptive treatment of malaria with Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT) has been associated with the development of resistance, therefore parasitological confirmation of all fevers is crucial in the context of eliminating malaria. This study assessed physicians’ compliance with the national guidelines in the treatment of malaria among under-five (U-5) children and their prescription pattern in a Maternal and Child Care (MCC) centre in Lagos State.
Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study conducted as an exit interview among 427 mothers/caregivers of febrile U-5 children who were consecutively sampled.The data was collected using a pre-tested interviewer-administered questionnaire and a proforma. Epi-info version 7.2.1 was used to analyze the data and the level of significance was set as p<0.05.
Results: Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test (mRDT) was done for 75 17.6%) of the children and 37 (49.3%) was positive. Anti-malarial drugs were prescribed at consultation to 400 (93.7%) of the febrile children. Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT) was prescribed for 364 (91.0%) of the children. The most prescribed ACT was Artemether-Lumefantrine (AL) in 222 (60.9%).
Conclusion: The physician’s compliance with malaria treatment guidelines for febrile illnesses in U-5 children was poor with regards to parasitological confirmation before treatment. However, the use of ACTs was adhered to in almost all cases. Regular training workshops are recommended for health workers to improve adherence to parasitological confirmation before treatment.
Keywords: Malaria, Under-fives, Compliance, mRDT, ACTs, Guidelines