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