oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - Knowledge, treatment-seeking behaviour and socio-economic impact of malaria in the desert of Rajasthan, India : original research
Climate change has resulted in water mismanagement, increased population, urbanisation, industrialisation, poor sanitation and other developmental activities in the desert of Rajasthan. As a consequence, malariagenic conditions have developed and malaria is now a major public health problem in this area. Malaria control efforts need to identify associated factors and to integrate these efforts with the information, education and communication campaigns and behaviour change communication campaigns that are targeting the community of this region. To this end, a community-based study of knowledge, treatment-seeking behaviour and the socio-economic impact of malaria was conducted in 18 villages of Ramgarh primary health centre in Jaisalmer district. Three hundred and sixty-five subjects who had contracted malaria at least once in the year before the interview were randomly selected. Data were collected through an interview process. More than two thirds of respondents (69.3%) stated that malaria was transmitted by mosquitoes. Nearly three quarters of respondents (73.7%) identified the symptoms of malaria as shivering, alternating fever and chills, and headaches and vomiting. Just over half the respondents (55.1%) believed that antimalarial drugs, such as chloroquine, could not be administered to pregnant women. 11.8% of subjects were aware of the use of preventative measures against mosquito bites. 7.2 days was the mean time taken by respondents to utilise health facilities for diagnosis and treatment. The treatment cost was significantly higher for those who used private health clinics (rupees 1 200) than it was for those who used government health facilities (Rs. 150/-) (p-value < 0.001). Literate respondents had better knowledge of malaria than illiterate respondents.
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