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Malaria treatment-seeking behaviour and recovery from malaria in a highland area of Kenya.

  • Author(s): Sumba, Peter O
  • Wong, S Lindsey
  • Kanzaria, Hemal K
  • Johnson, Kelsey A
  • John, Chandy C
  • et al.
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Malaria epidemics in highland areas of Kenya cause significant morbidity and mortality. METHODS: To assess treatment-seeking behaviour for malaria in these areas, a questionnaire was administered to 117 randomly selected households in the highland area of Kipsamoite, Kenya. Self-reported episodes of malaria occurred in 100 adults and 66 children. RESULTS: The most frequent initial sources of treatment for malaria in adults and children were medical facilities (66.0% and 66.7%) and local shops (19.0% and 30.3%). Adults and children who initially visited a medical facility for treatment were significantly more likely to recover and require no further treatment than those who initially went to a local shop (adults, 84.9% v. 36.8%, P < 0.0001, and children, 79.6% v. 40.0%, P = 0.002, respectively). Individuals who attended medical facilities recalled receiving anti-malarial medication significantly more frequently than those who visited shops (adults, 100% vs. 29.4%, and children, 100% v. 5.0%, respectively, both P < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: A significant proportion of this highland population chooses local shops for initial malaria treatment and receives inappropriate medication at these localshops, reslting in delay of effective treatment. Shopkeeper education has the potential to be a component of prevention or containment strategies for malaria epidemics in highland areas.

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