Challenges affecting prompt access to adequate uncomplicated malaria case management in children in rural primary health facilities in Chikhwawa Malawi.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Reducing the burden of malaria highly depends on access to prompt and effective malaria diagnosis and treatment. The aim of this study was to identify challenges affecting prompt access to effective uncomplicated malaria case management in children below 10?years old in rural primary health care facilities in Malawi. METHODS:A cross sectional health facility survey was conducted in six primary health facilities in Chikhwawa district, Malawi. Officers-in-charge of health facilities were interviewed on availability of staff, supplies and drugs. All consecutive children presenting at the facility with fever or suspected malaria, aged 6?months to 10?years old, were eligible to participate in exit interviews. Exit interviews with participants' guardians assessed duration of illness, demographic information and distance travelled. Adherence to recommended malaria case management guidelines included performing malaria rapid diagnostic tests (mRDTs) in children with fever or suspected malaria and prescribing recommended weight-based dose of artemether-lumefantrine (AL) when mRDT was positive. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with prompt care seeking within 24?h of onset of illness. RESULTS:Health facilities were staffed by at least two health workers. Of 265 children screened, nine were excluded due to severe illness. Twenty-one percent of children presenting at a health facility with fever were not tested for malaria. Adherence to positive and negative mRDT results for those tested was 99.4, 95% CI [98.1-100] and 97, 95% CI [88.9-100], respectively. AL was prescribed as recommended by weight in 152 children (92.2%). Temporary stock outs of AL occurred in five of six facilities. In total, 146 (57, 95% CI [52.7-64.1]) guardians of patients sought care within 24?h after fever onset. Children aged 5 to 10?years were less likely to present within 24?h of fever onset than children below 5?years of age (unadjusted odds ratio 0.40, 95% CI [0.2-0.7]). CONCLUSION:Adherence to malaria diagnosis and treatment guidelines was high. However, delayed care seeking and stock outs may affect prompt and effective malaria case management. Further qualitative work is required to determine, and address factors associated with delay in care seeking for fever.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Gaps remain in understanding the role of caregiver responses on time to seek appropriate care. The objective of this study was to describe caregiver responses to illness and the impact of these responses on time to seek appropriate care among children with malaria. METHODS:A case-control study of 325 children with severe (cases) and 325 children with uncomplicated (controls) malaria was conducted in Jinja, Uganda. Caregivers' responses to their children's illnesses and time to seek appropriate care were documented. Responses included staying at home, seeking care at drug shops, and seeking care at public health facilities classified into two types: (1) health facilities where caregiver initially sought care before enrollment, and (2) health facilities where children were provided appropriate care and enrolled in the study. Weighted Cox regression was used to determine risk factors for delays in time to seek appropriate care within 24 h of illness onset. RESULTS:Children staying home on self-medication was the most common initial response to illness among caregivers of controls (57.5%) and cases (42.4%, p < 0.001), followed by staying at home without medication (25.2%) and seeking care at drug shops (32.0%) for caregivers of controls and cases, respectively. Seeking care at drug shops was more common among caregivers of cases than of controls (32.0% vs. 12.3%; p < 0.001). However, compared to public health facilities, drug shops offered sub-optimal services with children less likely to have been examined (50.0% vs. 82.9%; p < 0.001) or referred to another facility (12.5% vs. 61.4%; p < 0.001). Upon adjustment for known risk factors for delay, initially seeking care at a drug shop (HR 0.37, p = 0.036) was associated with delay in seeking care at a health facility where appropriate care was provided. In contrast, those initially seeking care at public health facility before enrollment were more likely to subsequently seek care at another public health facility where appropriate care was provided (HR 5.55, p < 0.001). CONCLUSION:Caregivers should be educated on the importance of promptly seeking care at a health facility where appropriate care can be provided. The role of drug shops in providing appropriate care to children with malaria needs to be reviewed.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Malaria is still a leading child killer in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, access to prompt and effective malaria treatment, a mainstay of any malaria control strategy, is sub-optimal in many settings. Little is known about obstacles to treatment and community-effectiveness of case-management strategies. This research quantified treatment seeking behaviour and access to treatment in a highly endemic rural Tanzanian community. The aim was to provide a better understanding of obstacles to treatment access in order to develop practical and cost-effective interventions. METHODS: We conducted community-based treatment-seeking surveys including 226 recent fever episodes in 2004 and 2005. The local Demographic Surveillance System provided additional household information. A census of drug retailers and health facilities provided data on availability and location of treatment sources. RESULTS: After intensive health education, the biomedical concept of malaria has largely been adopted by the community. 87.5% (78.2-93.8) of the fever cases in children and 80.7% (68.1-90.0) in adults were treated with one of the recommended antimalarials (at the time SP, amodiaquine or quinine). However, only 22.5% (13.9-33.2) of the children and 10.5% (4.0-21.5) of the adults received prompt and appropriate antimalarial treatment. Health facility attendance increased the odds of receiving an antimalarial (OR = 7.7) but did not have an influence on correct dosage. The exemption system for under-fives in public health facilities was not functioning and drug expenditures for children were as high in health facilities as with private retailers. CONCLUSION: A clear preference for modern medicine was reflected in the frequent use of antimalarials. Yet, quality of case-management was far from satisfactory as was the functioning of the exemption mechanism for the main risk group. Private drug retailers played a central role by complementing existing formal health services in delivering antimalarial treatment. Health system factors like these need to be tackled urgently in order to translate the high efficacy of newly introduced artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) into equitable community-effectiveness and health-impact.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Prompt access to effective treatment for malaria is unacceptably low in Malawi. Less than 20% of children under the age of five with fever receive appropriate anti-malarial treatment within 24 hours of fever onset. This study assessed socio-cultural factors associated with delayed treatment of children with fever in Mwanza district, Malawi.<h4>Methodology</h4>It was a qualitative study using focus group discussions and key informant interviews.<h4>Results</h4>A total of 151 caregivers and 46 health workers participated in the focus group discussions. The majority of caregivers were able to recognize fever and link it to malaria. Despite high knowledge of malaria, prompt treatment and health-seeking behaviour were poor, with the majority of children first being managed at home with treatment regimens other than effective anti-malarials. Traditional beliefs about causes of fever, unavailability of anti-malarial drugs within the community, barriers to accessing the formal health care system, and trust in traditional medicine were all associated with delays in seeking appropriate treatment for fever.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The study has demonstrated important social cultural factors that negatively influence for caregivers of children under five. To facilitate prompt and appropriate health-seeking behaviour, behavioral change messages must address the prevailing local beliefs about causes of fever and the socio-economic barriers to accessing health care.
Project description:Malaria remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among children under five years old in many low- and middle-income countries. In this study, we examined how malaria-related ideational factors may influence care-seeking behavior among female caregivers of children under five with fever. Data came from population-based surveys conducted in 2014-2015 by U.S. Agency for International Development-funded surveys in Madagascar, Mali, and Nigeria. The outcome of interest was whether a child under five with fever within two weeks prior to the survey was brought to a formal health facility for care. Results show a wide variation in care-seeking practices for children under five with fever across countries. Seeking care for febrile children under five in the formal health sector is far from a norm in the study countries. Important ideational factors associated with care-seeking behavior included caregivers' perceived social norms regarding treatment of fever among children under five in Nigeria and Madagascar, and caregiver's knowledge of the cause of malaria in Mali. Findings indicate that messages aimed to increase malaria-related knowledge should be tailored to the specific country, and that interventions designed to influence social norms about care-seeking are likely to result in increased care-seeking behavior for fever in children under five.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Inappropriate treatment of malaria is widely reported particularly in areas where there is poor access to health facilities and self-treatment of fevers with anti-malarial drugs bought in shops is the most common form of care-seeking. The main objective of the study was to examine the impact of introducing rapid diagnostic tests for malaria (mRDTs) in registered drug shops in Uganda, with the aim to increase appropriate treatment of malaria with artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) in patients seeking treatment for fever in drug shops. METHODS:A cluster-randomized trial of introducing mRDTs in registered drug shops was implemented in 20 geographical clusters of drug shops in Mukono district, central Uganda. Ten clusters were randomly allocated to the intervention (diagnostic confirmation of malaria by mRDT followed by ACT) and ten clusters to the control arm (presumptive treatment of fevers with ACT). Treatment decisions by providers were validated by microscopy on a reference blood slide collected at the time of consultation. The primary outcome was the proportion of febrile patients receiving appropriate treatment with ACT defined as: malaria patients with microscopically-confirmed presence of parasites in a peripheral blood smear receiving ACT or rectal artesunate, and patients with no malaria parasites not given ACT. FINDINGS:A total of 15,517 eligible patients (8672 intervention and 6845 control) received treatment for fever between January-December 2011. The proportion of febrile patients who received appropriate ACT treatment was 72·9% versus 33·7% in the control arm; a difference of 36·1% (95% CI: 21·3 - 50·9), p<0·001. The majority of patients with fever in the intervention arm accepted to purchase an mRDT (97·8%), of whom 58·5% tested mRDT-positive. Drug shop vendors adhered to the mRDT results, reducing over-treatment of malaria by 72·6% (95% CI: 46·7- 98·4), p<0·001) compared to drug shop vendors using presumptive diagnosis (control arm). CONCLUSION:Diagnostic testing with mRDTs compared to presumptive treatment of fevers implemented in registered drug shops substantially improved appropriate treatment of malaria with ACT. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01194557.
Project description:Even though health care seeking interventions potentially reduce child mortality from easily treatable diseases, significant numbers of children die without ever reaching a health facility or due to delays in seeking care in Ethiopia. This study aimed to assess health care seeking behavior for common childhood illnesses and associated factors.A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in Jeldu District from January to February 2011. A systematic sampling method was used for sample selection. Data were collected from 422 caregivers with under-five children who experienced diseases within six weeks before the survey. Interviewer administered structured and pre-tested questionnaire which were used to collect data. Data entry and cleaning were carried out using Epi Info version 3.5.1 and analyzed using SPSS version 16. Descriptive analysis was done to determine the magnitude of health care seeking behavior. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to identify associated factors.A total of 422 caregivers of under-five children were participated in the study giving an overall response rate of 97.5%. Three hundred fifteen (74.6%) children sought care from health facilities for all conditions. However, only 55.4% of them were taken to health facilities as first source treatment during their illness and prompt care was also very low (13.7%). Marital status of the caregivers (AOR = 2.84; 95%CI: 1.62-4.98), number of symptoms experienced by the child (AOR = 2.04; 95%CI: 1.24-3.36) and perceived severity of the illness (AOR = 3.20; 95%CI: 1.96-5.22) were predictors of health care seeking behavior.Health care seeking behavior for childhood illnesses was delayed and decision to seek care from health facilities was influenced by worsening of the illnesses. Thus, community level promotion of prompt health care seeking is essential to enhance the health care seeking behavior for child hood illnesses in the locality.
Project description:Prompt care seeking and appropriate use of anti-malarial drugs are critical components of malaria prevention and control. This study assessed malaria related perceptions, care seeking behavior and anti-malarial drug use in malaria endemic settings of Ethiopia.Data were generated from a community based cross-sectional study conducted among 798 households during January 2014 as part of a larger household behavioral study in three malaria endemic districts of Jimma Zone, Southwest Ethiopia. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected and analyzed using SPSS 17.0 and STATA 12.0.In this study, only 76.1% of the respondents associated malaria to mosquito bite, and incorrect beliefs and perceptions were noted. Despite moderate level of knowledge (estimated mean = 62.2, Std Err = 0.7, 95% CI: 60.6-63.8%), quite high favorable attitude (overall estimated mean = 91.5, Std Err = 0.6, 95% CI: 90.1-92.9%) were recorded towards malaria preventive measures. The mean attitude score for prompt care seeking, appropriate use of anti-malarial drugs, LLIN use and Indoor Residual Spray acceptance was 98.5 (Std Err = 0.4, 95% CI:97.5-99.4), 92.7 (Std Err = 0.6 95% CI:91.5-93.9), 88.8 (Std Err = 0.5, 95% CI:85.5-92.1) and 86.5 (Std Err = 1.2, 95% CI: 83.9-89.1), respectively. The prevalence of fever was 2.9% (116/4107) and of the study participants with fever, 71.9% (95% CI: 65.5-78.3%) sought care and all of them consulted formal health care system. However, only 17 (19.8%) sought care within 24 hours after onset of fever. The frequency of care seeking was higher (77.8%, n = 21/27) and more prompt (28.6%, 6/21) for children under five as compared to old age groups despite it was not statistically significant (p > 0.05). However, higher median time of seeking first care was observed among Muslims and people who did not attend school (p < 0.05). Of those who used anti-malarial drugs, 9.1% indicated that they used it inappropriately through saving and/or sharing. Irregular availability of anti-malarial drugs; irregular presence of frontline health workers and misconceptions were mentioned to contribute to delayed care seeking and irrational use of anti-malarial drugs.Although care seeking behavior for febrile illness was quite high in this community, the habit of prompt care seeking was very limited. Thus, malaria prevention and control programs need to take into account local misconceptions and wrong perceptions, and health system factors to achieve optimal health seeking behavior in such malaria endemic settings.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Fever is common among patients seeking care in sub-Saharan Africa (sSA), but causes other than malaria are rarely diagnosed. We assessed dengue and chikungunya virus infections among young febrile adults evaluated for acute HIV infection (AHI) and malaria in coastal Kenya. METHODS:We tested plasma samples obtained in a cross-sectional study from febrile adult patients aged 18-35 years evaluated for AHI and malaria at urgent care seeking at seven health facilities in coastal Kenya in 2014-2015. Dengue virus (DENV) and chikungunya virus (CHIKV) were amplified using quantitative real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. We conducted logistic regression analyses to determine independent predictors of dengue virus infection. RESULTS:489 samples that were negative for both AHI and malaria were tested, of which 43 (8.8%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.4-11.7) were positive for DENV infection. No participant was positive for CHIKV infection. DENV infections were associated with clinic visits in the rainy season (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 3.0, 95% CI: 1.3-6.5) and evaluation at a private health facility (AOR 5.2, 95% CI: 2.0-13.1) or research health facility (AOR = 25.6, 95% CI: 8.9-73.2) instead of a public health facility. CONCLUSION:A high prevalence of DENV infections was found in febrile young adult patients evaluated for AHI. Our data suggests that DENV, along with AHI and malaria, should be considered in the differential diagnosis of the adult patient seeking care for fever in coastal Kenya.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The standard practice in treating uncomplicated malaria is to prescribe artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) for only patients with positive test results. However, health workers (HWs) sometimes prescribe ACTs for patients with negative malaria rapid diagnostic test (mRDT) results. Available evidence on HWs perception of mRDT and their level of compliance with test results in Nigeria lacks adequate stratification by state and context. We assessed HWs perception of mRDT and factors influencing ACTs prescription to patients with negative mRDT results in Ebonyi state, Nigeria. METHODS:A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 303 HWs who treat suspected malaria patients in 40 randomly selected public and private health facilities in Ebonyi state. Health workers' perception of mRDT was assessed with 18 equally weighted five-point likert scale questions with maximum obtainable total score of 90. Scores ?72 were graded as good and less, as poor perception. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression model at 5% significance level. RESULTS:Mean age of respondents was 34.6±9.4 years, 229 (75.6%) were females, 180 (59.4%) community health workers and 67 (22.1%) medical doctors. Overall, 114 (37.6%) respondents across healthcare facility strata had poor perception of mRDT. Respondents who prescribed ACTs to patients with negative mRDT results within six months preceding the survey were 154 (50.8%) [PHCs: 50 (42.4%), General hospitals: 18 (47.4%), tertiary facility: 51 (79.7%) and missionary hospitals: 35 (42.2%)]. Poor HWs' perception of mRDT promoted prescription of ACT to patients with negative mRDT results (AOR = 5.6, 95% C.I = 3.2-9.9). The likelihood of prescribing ACTs to patients with negative mRDT results was higher among HWs in public health facilities (AOR = 2.8, 95% C.I = 1.4-5.5) than those in the private. CONCLUSIONS:The poor perception of mRDT and especially common prescribing of ACTs to patients with negative mRDT results among HWs in Ebonyi state calls for context specific interventions to improve their perception and compliance with mRDT test results.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Poor children have a higher risk of contracting malaria and may be less likely to receive effective treatment. Malaria is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in Nigerian children and many cases of childhood fever are due to malaria. This study examined socioeconomic factors related to taking children with fever for treatment in formal health facilities. METHODS: A household survey conducted in Bauchi and Cross River states of Nigeria asked parents where they sought treatment for their children aged 0-47 months with severe fever in the last month and collected information about household socio-economic status. Fieldworkers also recorded whether there was a health facility in the community. We used treatment of severe fever in a health facility to indicate likely effective treatment for malaria. Multivariate analysis in each state examined associations with treatment of childhood fever in a health facility. RESULTS: 43% weighted (%wt) of 10,862 children had severe fever in the last month in Cross River, and 45%wt of 11,053 children in Bauchi. Of these, less than half (31%wt Cross River, 44%wt Bauchi) were taken to a formal health facility for treatment. Children were more likely to be taken to a health facility if there was one in the community (OR 2.31 [95% CI 1.57-3.39] in Cross River, OR 1.33 [95% CI 1.0-1.7] in Bauchi). Children with fever lasting less than five days were less likely to be taken for treatment than those with more prolonged fever, regardless of whether there was such a facility in their community. Educated mothers were more likely to take children with fever to a formal health facility. In communities with a health facility in Cross River, children from less-poor households were more likely to go to the facility (OR 1.30; 95% CI 1.07-1.58). CONCLUSION: There is inequity of access to effective malaria treatment for children with fever in the two states, even when there is a formal health facility in the community. Understanding the details of inequity of access in the two states could help the state governments to plan interventions to increase access equitably. Increasing geographic access to health facilities is needed but will not be enough.