Socio-economic factors in community-based malaria control in central division of Garissa district, Kenya
Shariff, Mohamed Ali
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Malaria is one of the leading parasitic diseases causing morbidity and mortality in developing countries. In Kenya, it is one of the leading causes of death and accounts for 13% of all deaths reported in government hospitals. Many approaches have been attempted to develop an ultimate solution to malaria, including development of vaccine, without much success. It is generally accepted that prevention and prompt treatment of the disease are the best approaches as for now. Households and communities are the cornerstone to sustaining this intervention. Therefore, there is need to get data that can be used in the control of the disease. This study determined the socio-economic factors influencing malaria control at community level in Central Division of Garissa District. A total of 340 respondents were interviewed. Data was collected through structured questionnaires and focus group discussions. Information on household income, household size and knowledge, attitude and perception on malaria was also collected. Results indicated that communities believe in multiple causes for malaria. Of the 340 respondents, 62.6% associated the disease with mosquitoes. Other causes included dirty water (25.4%) and rain/cold water (12%). Majority (54%) use anti-malarial drugs to treat the disease. In addition, results indicated that communities use other forms of treatment such as herbal medicine and spiritual healing. There was a significant association between education level and the use of herbal medicine (c2=11.036, df = 3, p<0.05). Although, all respondents had very positive opinions concerning the desirability of mosquito nets, they complained of the cost of the nets, hotness and inadequate air circulation as major disadvantages of the bed nets. In focus group discussions, communities were concerned about the safety of the insecticides used to treat the nets. The results also indicated that households put high priorities for expenditure as food and school fees. Cost recovery programme need to consider cash availability. Household and community knowledge on the cause of malaria was generally good as (62.6%) attributed to mosquitoes. However, household sought treatment from other source beside modern medicine for example, 15.9% sought treatment from traditional healers mainly because of lack of money. Community in the study area also believes that inducing diarrhea is the treatment for malaria. On ITN though the community appreciates its use in the control of mosquito they mainly use past midnight when they retire to the main house, because household members use other structures and open spacec in the early hours of the night. There is therefore, need for government and non-government organizations involved in malaria control to make drugs and nets available. Where households cannot pay cash they should be allowed to pay in kind. From the results, there is need to address socio-economic issues such as poverty, illiteracy and cultural factors through communities' participation in disease control.
- MST-Zoological Sciences