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Community knowledge, perceptions and practices on malaria in Mpwapwa District, central Tanzania

LEG Mboera
ML Kamugisha
V Barongo
SF Rumisha
HA Msangeni
F Molteni
AY Kitua


A study on community knowledge, attitudes and perception on malaria and its management was conducted in Mpwapwa district of central Tanzania in January-February 2001. Six villages, three with health facilities (Kibakwe, Makose and Mwanawota) and three without health facilities (Chogola, Kidenge and Wangi) lying between 975 and 1859 m above sea level were selected for the study. According to most respondents, the general health problems for adults in the district included malaria, diarrhoea, typhoid fever and pneumonia. Malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea were the major health problems among children. Among pregnant women, malaria, abortions and diarrhoea were identified as the major public health problems in the district. In the view of most of villagers, malaria was the cause of most fevers and convulsions at low and intermediate altitudes. Cold weather was considered as the main predisposing factor to most of the fevers experienced in the highland villages. The common antimalarial drugs used in Mpwapwa district were chloroquine and quinine. The cost of antimalarial drugs ranged between TShs. 10/- and 20/- for one tablet of chloroquine, 600/- for chloroquine syrup, and 320/- for a single dose of chloroquine injection. However, shortage of drugs was frequently encountered in most of the health facilities. Traditional medicine practitioners were most frequently consulted for cases of convulsions in the district. Our findings showed that only 2.1% of the children in the district were sleeping under mosquito nets. The use of mosquito net was common among individuals living in the villages with health facilities than in those without health facilities. Generally, most respondents considered long distances to health facilities and inability to pay for health services as the main constraints in obtaining proper health care.
Tanzania Health Research Bulletin Vol.6(2) 2004: 37-41