Mothers' perception and management of childhood malaria in Umuahia South Local Government Area, Abia State, Nigeria
The survey was designed to study mothers' perception and management of childhood malaria in Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State, Nigeria, due to the observation that malaria associated childhood morbidity and mortality continued to be on the increase in the area despite availability of new drugs and techniques for malaria control. One thousand, seven hundred and twenty-eight (1,728) mothers of different socio-economic background and between the ages of 30-59 years were randomly selected from the local government area and interviewed on the etiology, symptoms, management and treatment of childhood malaria in the area. Results obtained showed that both knowledge of the etiology and symptoms as well as management of malaria in children by mothers were still poor. About 30% neither knew the cause of the disease nor its major symptoms. Management practices were majorly based on self-medication with modern drugs obtained from mostly sub-standard chemist stores. When the home treatment failed, as many as 47.2% of the mothers did not take their wards to the hospital but continued the same treatment or sent them to prayer-houses and herbalists. While occupation, educational level and age of the mother affected correct knowledge of the etiology at 5% significant level, they had no significant (p>0.05) impact on recognition of the correct symptoms and choosing of first line treatment by mothers. Control of mosquitoes was mainly by use of sprays or burning of herbs, only about 13.4% used bed nets. Aside from enhanced awareness campaign in the area, there may be need for the Roll Back Malaria Implementation Committee and other stakeholders to consider other options like subsidizing the prices of effective malaria drugs or giving them free to mothers for their sick children, as is the case with other deadly childhood diseases.
Keywords: childhood malaria, morbidity, mortality, etiology and symptoms, self-medication, Nigeria.
Nigerian Journal of Parasitology Vol. 28 (2) 2007: pp. 55-60