Presumptive self-diagnosis of malaria and other febrile illnesses in Sierra Leone
Introduction: The objective of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of self-diagnosis of malaria and other febrile illnesses in Bo, Sierra Leone.
Methods: All households in two neighboring sections of Bo were invited to participate in a cross-sectional survey.
Results: A total of 882 households (an 85% participation rate) that were home to 5410 individuals participated in the study. Of the 910 individuals reported to have had what the household considered to be malaria in the past month, only 41% were diagnosed by a healthcare professional or a laboratory test. Of the 1402 individuals reported to have had any type of febrile illness within the past six months, only 34% had sought a clinical or laboratory diagnosis. Self-diagnosis of influenza, yellow fever, typhoid, and pneumonia was also common.
Conclusion: Self-diagnosis and presumptive treatment with antimalarial drugs and other antibiotic medications that are readily available without a prescription may compromise health outcomes for febrile adults and children.
Key words: Malaria, fevers, self-care, health services accessibility, community pharmacy services, West Africa