Background: Understanding local knowledge about malaria can help in designing sustainable community-based malaria control programs. Thus, the purpose of this study was to generate information on knowledge, perceptions and practices and the preventive measures as regards to malaria in the rural farming community.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted September to October 2013 among 851 households from 9 villages in Ekondo Titi Subdivision using structured questionnaire. Questions assessed knowledge, perceptions and practices about malaria among tribal villagers. The data were analyzed using SPSS 20.0 statistical software program.
Results: Most of the respondents 58.2% attributed malaria to mosquito bites. However, some of the respondents (28.8%) mentioned drinking dirty water, midges and standing in the sun as the causes of malaria transmission. Avoiding stagnant water (60.9%) and Clearing of bushes (71.5%) were the most frequently mentioned malaria preventive measures perceived and practiced by the respondents. Only 11.05% of 851 participants owned at least one long lasting insecticide treated net (LLIN). Thirty-nine point nine (39.9%) of respondents indicated that they experienced the last malaria episode more than three months ago. Malaria chemoprophylactic treatment was related to the educational status of the participants (p=0.001)
Conclusions: Despite this fair knowledge and good attitudes, practices towards malaria prevention and control were poor. A considerable proportion had misconceptions about the cause and transmission of malaria suggesting the necessity of health education. To close the gap between knowledge about transmission and ownership and use of bed nets as a preventive measure, there is the need to re-energize the CHWs activities and implement the concept of night watch in the rural communities.