oa Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases - A cross-sectional study on knowledge of, attitudes towards and practice of malaria prevention and control measures in central Nigeria : original research
There is limited evidence of a decrease in malaria-related mortality and morbidity with the expiration of the 2010 Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership target deadline. Thus, there is a need to evaluate the knowledge of, attitudes towards and practice of malaria control and prevention measures by the risk population, i.e. children and pregnant women in endemic communities. This was a cross-sectional study using a questionnaire on 640 children aged 0-18 years attending Jos University Teaching Hospital and three primary healthcare centres in malaria holoendemic communities in Plateau State, Nigeria. Of 640 children, 312 (48.8%) and 328 (51.2%) were male and female, respectively. Most respondents (78.8%) were aware that malaria is caused by a mosquito bite. There were mosquito breeding sites in the majority of respondents' homes and in the community. Five hundred and twenty (81.2%) subjects received the distributed insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs). Fifty-six (8.8%) of the recipients had not started using the ITN because they held various incorrect beliefs about it. Three hundred and twenty-nine children (78.5%) aged five years and younger slept under ITNs. Some participants used mosquito coils, insecticide paper, insecticide spray, antimalaria therapy, and environmental hygiene and herbal leaves as malaria prevention and control measures. The results of this study demonstrated that there was increased ownership and use of ITNs at community level. However, the level of environmental and personal hygiene was low, and the existence of mosquitoes breeding sites was high. Thus, efforts need to be intensified with regard to malaria control strategies to ensure that adequate information relating to the importance of environmental and personal hygiene, the elimination of mosquito-breeding sources and the safety of ITNs is more made more available and accessible at community level. This will help RBM Partnership goals, both in Plateau State and Nigeria, to be achieved and sustained.
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