Knowledge and Treatment Practices of Malaria among Mothers and Caregivers of Children in an Urban Slum in Jos, Nigeria
A cross-sectional descriptive study design, a cluster sampling technique and an interviewer administered questionnaire were used to collect information on socio demographic profiles as well as knowledge and treatment practices of malaria from mothers and caregivers of underfive children in Gangare, Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State,central Nigeria. The data was then analyzed using Epi info2002 epidemiological software. The study revealed a low level of knowledge ofmalaria with 248(49.6%) being able to recognize the disease and only 124(24.9%) attributing it to the mosquito bite. The attitude of most respondents towards malaria as an illness was however good as 275(55%) viewed it as a very serious illness and most of them 328(65.6%) woulduse hospitals/clinics for treatment. Majority of them; 462(92.4%) have not heard of Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT) and only 19(50%) of those who had heard of ACT had ever used it for the treatment of malaria.Generally, their knowledge of malaria and treatment seeking practice are influenced by cost of treatment, perceived safety and level of their education. (p<0.05) Among mothers and caregivers living in slums in Jos, their ability to recognize malaria is poor. So also is their awareness and use of Artemisinin Combination Therapy. An improvement in their level of education and their economic power could improve their knowledge and treatment practices. Malaria is a public health problem in more than 90 countries, inhabited by a total of 2.4 billion people, representing about 40% of the world's population. Major trends over the last few decades point to a worsening situation if effective action is not taken. Sadly, this is in spite of enormous efforts and resources that have beeninvested in its control. The objective of this study was to describe the level of knowledge of malaria as a disease and the practice of its treatment by mothers and caregivers of underfive children in Gangare, an urban slum of Jos City, Nigeria.
Key words: Knowledge; treatment practices, malaria; slum; caregivers