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Community knowledge and attitudes and health workers' practices regarding non-malaria febrile illnesses in eastern Tanzania.


ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Although malaria has been the leading cause of fever for many years, with improved control regimes malaria transmission, morbidity and mortality have decreased. Recent studies have increasingly demonstrated the importance of non-malaria fevers, which have significantly improved our understanding of etiologies of febrile illnesses. A number of non-malaria febrile illnesses including Rift Valley Fever, dengue fever, Chikungunya virus infection, leptospirosis, tick-borne relapsing fever and Q-fever have been reported in Tanzania. This study aimed at assessing the awareness of communities and practices of health workers on non-malaria febrile illnesses. METHODS: Twelve focus group discussions with members of communities and 14 in-depth interviews with health workers were conducted in Kilosa district, Tanzania. Transcripts were coded into different groups using MaxQDA software and analyzed through thematic content analysis. RESULTS: The study revealed that the awareness of the study participants on non-malaria febrile illnesses was low and many community members believed that most instances of fever are due to malaria. In addition, the majority had inappropriate beliefs about the possible causes of fever. In most cases, non-malaria febrile illnesses were considered following a negative Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test (mRDT) result or persistent fevers after completion of anti-malaria dosage. Therefore, in the absence of mRDTs, there is over diagnosis of malaria and under diagnosis of non-malaria illnesses. Shortages of diagnostic facilities for febrile illnesses including mRDTs were repeatedly reported as a major barrier to proper diagnosis and treatment of febrile patients. CONCLUSION: Our results emphasize the need for creating community awareness on other causes of fever apart from malaria. Based on our study, appropriate treatment of febrile patients will require inputs geared towards strengthening of diagnostic facilities, drugs availability and optimal staffing of health facilities.

SUBMITTER: Chipwaza B 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4031176 | BioStudies | 2014-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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