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Journal of the Eritrean Medical Association

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Knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) about malaria among people visiting referral hospitals of Eritrea in 2008

H Habtai, T Ghebremeskel, S Mihreteab, J Mufunda, A Ghebremichael

Abstract


Background: Knowledge, attitudes, awareness, practices and beliefs of communities contribute immensely to sustainable control of endemic diseases such as malaria. Strategic malaria control involves primary prevention which focuses on vector elimination and personal behavior change specifically through the consistent use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and prompt and effective case management. This health facility based study was conducted to investigate the knowledge, attitudes and practices toward malaria among people visiting referral Hospitals of Eritrea, so as to develop a cost effective behavioral change communication strategy for community based malaria control. Methods: The study was conducted in the Referral Hospitals of the four Zobas as well as Teseney Hospital where there was the highest malaria morbidity and mortality. A total of 250 people with 50 people from each hospital were randomly selected. A structured questionnaire covering information on respondent demographics, knowledge, attitudes and practices was administered upon receipt of an informed consent for participation. Results: All the study subjects knew at least one of the symptoms of malaria with nearly three quarters mentioning three or more of the classical symptoms including fever. More than 80% knew that mosquitoes were the vector for the disease with a similar proportion having participated in environmental preventive control measures. Nearly half (44.6%) of the respondents gave priority for usage of ITNs to children under 5 years, to both children and pregnant mother and 11.2% to pregnant mothers. Conclusion: The majority of the respondents in this study knew enough information about malaria, and had participated in environmental preventive measures. The primary prevention of malaria through uninterrupted use of ITNs and transformation of knowledge into practices requires emphasis on the development of a community based behavioral change communication strategy.

Key words: KAP, malaria, Behavioral change communication strategy, Eritrea, ITNs



http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/jema.v4i1.52117
AJOL African Journals Online