Oluwasogo AO*, Henry OS, Abdulrasheed AA, Olawumi TA and Olabisi EY
Background: Malaria remains a major global public health and development challenge especially in tropical Africa. Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest form of the malaria parasite, is responsible for the vast majority of the mortality and morbidity associated with malaria infection. This study therefore, aims to evaluate the caregiver’s knowledge, attitude and practice regarding malaria and treatment of children below five (5) years in the rural community.
Methods: A community-based cross sectional survey was conducted in different households among mothers’ with children below five (5) years of age selected by systematic random sampling. In total, 50 respondents were interviewed in the rural community using a semi-structured, paper-based questionnaire designed to capture information on socio-demographic characteristics, active knowledge, treatment seeking behaviour of caregivers/ parents, types of treatment employed by the care-givers and personal protective measures against Malaria.
Results: Most respondents correctly associated malaria with infected female anopheles mosquito bites (99.7%) and reported that they will seek treatment within 24 hours of noticing the first symptoms of malaria. Although the respondents were unaware of the susceptibility of children to malaria parasite, thirty seven percent (37%) preferred to use herbs while (17%) will take children to the clinic/dispensary for treatment. Caregivers also make use of artemisinin based combination therapy (ACT) (7%), analgesics (5%), antibiotics (5%) but majority of the respondents use self-prescribed palliative drug combinations/over-the-counter drugs (40%) in treating malaria. They were also aware of preventive measures against malaria such as insecticide treated bed-nets (28%), but there was low ownership and usage of the bed nets among respondents as only 19% of them have access to bed nets. Other preventive measures include spraying with insecticide (29%), wearing long sleeved clothes (29%), and draining of stagnant water (13%).
Conclusion: There was dearth of information percolating to mothers most especially on current trends in management, control and prevention of acute uncomplicated malaria in the endemic rural community. Provision of affordable healthcare facilities by government and improved patronage coupled with sound integration of health information and education policy would enhance and promote change of attitude, behaviour and practice will help in combating malaria in the rural endemic settings.
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