Some economic and socio-cultural factors associated with cerebral malaria among under-fives in Benin City, Nigeria.
Introduction: Risk factors associated with the occurrence of cerebral malaria in under fives are well documented. Outside these acknowledged factors of age, location, and nutrition, other socioeconomic/cultural factors could contribute to the maze of factors determining the occurrence of the morbidity. Methods: To unravel such factors a key informant interview was conducted among resident doctors in paediatrics at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital. Factors identified formed the basis of this cross-sectional, case control study involving 64 cases each of subjects and controls with uncomplicated malaria carried out at the Hospital. Such factors as delay in accessing competent intervention, prolonged use of anti-pyretics, material educational status, use of substandard medication and abdominal scarification as identified were evaluated in the two sets of patients. Others evaluated included mothers’ occupation and health seeking behaviours. Results: Factors found to be significantly associated with occurrence of cerebral malaria were initial treatment in clinics (X2 = 6.43, p = 0.011) presence of fresh abdominal scarification (X2 = 4.30, p=0.038) late presentation (X2 = 32.64; p=0.000) and non- use of mosquito nets (X2 = 9.14; p=0.002). Conclusion/Recommendations: Initial treatment either in clinics or non orthodox facilities contributed significantly to the occurrence of cerebral malaria. The implication of these is that pre- teaching hospital treatments were inadequate in managing the child meant to develop cerebral malaria. Attention should therefore be directed at these areas alongside use of mosquito nets if the objective is to minimise the occurrence of cerebral malaria.
Key words: Cerebral malaria, Risk factors, Under fives, Economic factors & Socio-cultural factors.