Barriers to Prompt Malaria Diagnosis and Effective Treatment among Children Under Five Years of Age in Mpika District

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.04.04.Art016

Authors : David Silweya


Background: Prompt malaria diagnosis and effective treatment, is a key malaria control strategy which reduces morbidity and mortality in many settings. However, in Zambia studies show that, only 19% caretaker of children under five years of age accessed prompt and effective treatment in 2010 at health facilities. The factors contributing to this problem are not well understood in Zambia. The objective of this study is to determine barriers to prompt diagnosis and effective malaria treatment among children under the age of five years in Mpika district.

Methods: An analytical cross section study was conducted in Mpika district of Zambia using both the quantitative and qualitative methods with sample size was 380 caregivers and 8 Focused Group Discussions (FGDs) respectively.

Results: The study found that only 13.9% of children diagnosed with malaria received prompt malaria treatment. The following variables were found to significantly predict uptake of prompt malaria treatment; distance of less than five kilometers to the health facility (Adjusted OR 2.45 95%CI: 1.22 – 5.11 P = 0.012, adequate household income (AOR 2.27 95%CI: 1.18 – 4.39 P = 0.014), first action being; taking the child to the health facility (AOR 2.45 95%CI: 1.26 – 4.76 P = 0.008 and having health education (IEC) done in the community (AOR 2.14 95%CI: 1.10 – 4.13 P = 0.024). Non availability of antimalarial drugs at health facilities and self-treatments with antipyretics or herbal medication were reported in FGDs to be associated with delays in seeking appropriate malaria treatment.

Conclusion: The findings of this study highlight the barrier that exits in accessing prompt malaria treatment in a rural setting of Zambia. It underscores the need to formulate and implement interventions aimed at fostering appropriate health seeking behaviors in caretakers of under five children through community health education and addressing socio-economic barriers that exits in rural setting.


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