"Before we used to get sick all the time": perceptions of malaria and use of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets (LLINs) in a rural Kenyan community.

Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Institute for Human Performance, Syracuse, New York 13210, USA.
Malaria Journal (Impact Factor: 3.49). 11/2010; 9:345. DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-9-345
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Malaria is a leading global cause of preventable morbidity and mortality, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, despite recent advances in treatment and prevention technologies. Scale-up and wide distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) could rapidly decrease malarial disease in endemic areas, if used properly and continuously. Studies have shown that effective use of LLINs depends, in part, upon understanding causal factors associated with malaria. This study examined malaria beliefs, attitudes, and practices toward LLINs assessed during a large-scale integrated prevention campaign (IPC) in rural Kenya.
Qualitative interviews were conducted with 34 IPC participants who received LLINs as part of a comprehensive prevention package of goods and services. One month after distribution, interviewers asked these individuals about their attitudes and beliefs regarding malaria, and about their use of LLINs.
Virtually all participants noted that mosquitoes were involved in causing malaria, though a substantial proportion of participants (47 percent) also mentioned an incorrect cause in addition to mosquitoes. For example, participants commonly noted that the weather (rain, cold) or consumption of bad food and water caused malaria. Regardless, most participants used the LLINs they were given and most mentioned positive benefits from their use, namely reductions in malarial illness and in the costs associated with its diagnosis and treatment.
Attitudes toward LLINs were positive in this rural community in Western Kenya, and respondents noted benefits with LLIN use. With improved understanding and clarification of the direct (mosquitoes) and indirect (e.g., standing water) causes of malaria, it is likely that LLIN use can be sustained, offering effective household-level protection against malaria.

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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The focus of India's National Malaria Programme witnessed a paradigm shift recently from health facility to community-based approaches. The current thrust is on diagnosing and treating malaria by community health workers and prevention through free provision of long-lasting insecticidal nets. However, appropriate community awareness and practice are inevitable for the effectiveness of such efforts. In this context, the study assessed community perceptions and practice on malaria and similar febrile illnesses. This evidence base is intended to direct the roll-out of the new strategies and improve community acceptance and utilization of services. METHODS: A qualitative study involving 26 focus group discussions and 40 key informant interviews was conducted in two districts of Odisha State in India. The key points of discussion were centred on community perceptions and practice regarding malaria prevention and treatment. Thematic analysis of data was performed. RESULTS: The 272 respondents consisted of 50% females, three-quarter scheduled tribe community and 30% students. A half of them were literates. Malaria was reported to be the most common disease in their settings with multiple modes of transmission by the FGD participants. Adoption of prevention methods was seasonal with perceived mosquito density. The reported use of bed nets was low and the utilization was determined by seasonality, affordability, intoxication and alternate uses of nets. Although respondents were aware of malaria-related symptoms, care-seeking from traditional healers and unqualified providers was prevalent. The respondents expressed lack of trust in the community health workers due to frequent drug stock-outs. The major determinants of health care seeking were socio-cultural beliefs, age, gender, faith in the service provider, proximity, poverty, and perceived effectiveness of available services. CONCLUSION: Apart from the socio-cultural and behavioural factors, the availability of acceptable care can modulate the community perceptions and practices on malaria management. The current community awareness on symptoms of malaria and prevention is fair, yet the prevention and treatment practices are not optimal. Promoting active community involvement and ownership in malaria control and management through strengthening community based organizations would be relevant. Further, the timely availability of drugs and commodities at the community level can improve their confidence in the public health system.
    Malaria Journal 01/2013; 12(1):39. DOI:10.1186/1475-2875-12-39 · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Formerly a high malaria transmission area, Zanzibar is now targeting malaria elimination. A major challenge is to avoid resurgence of malaria, the success of which includes maintaining high effective coverage of vector control interventions such as bed nets and indoor residual spraying (IRS). In this study, caretakers' continued use of preventive measures for their children is evaluated, following a sharp reduction in malaria transmission. METHODS: A cross-sectional community-based survey was conducted in June 2009 in North A and Micheweni districts in Zanzibar. Households were randomly selected using two-stage cluster sampling. Interviews were conducted with 560 caretakers of under-five-year old children, who were asked about perceptions on the malaria situation, vector control, household assets, and intention for continued use of vector control as malaria burden further decreases. RESULTS: Effective coverage of vector control interventions for under-five children remains high, although most caretakers (65%; 363/560) did not perceive malaria as presently being a major health issue. Seventy percent (447/643) of the under-five children slept under a long-lasting insecticidal net (LLIN) and 94% (607/643) were living in houses targeted with IRS. In total, 98% (628/643) of the children were covered by at least one of the vector control interventions. Seasonal bed-net use for children was reported by 25% (125/508) of caretakers of children who used bed nets. A high proportion of caretakers (95%; 500/524) stated that they intended to continue using preventive measures for their under-five children as malaria burden further reduces. Malaria risk perceptions and different perceptions of vector control were not found to be significantly associated with LLIN effective coverage. CONCLUSIONS: While the majority of caretakers felt that malaria had been reduced in Zanzibar, effective coverage of vector control interventions remained high. Caretakers appreciated the interventions and recognized the value of sustaining their use. Thus, sustaining high effective coverage of vector control interventions, which is crucial for reaching malaria elimination in Zanzibar, can be achieved by maintaining effective delivery of these interventions.
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    Parasites & Vectors 01/2014; 7(1):52. DOI:10.1186/1756-3305-7-52 · 3.25 Impact Factor

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Timothy De Ver Dye