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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 226-231

Mothers' understanding of childhood malaria and practices in rural communities of Ise-Orun, Nigeria: implications for malaria control

Institute of Child Health, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Adebola Emmanuel Orimadegun
Institute of Child Health, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2249-4863.154655

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Introduction: Regular evaluations of communities' understanding of malaria-related practices are essential for control of the disease in endemic areas. This study was aimed at investigating the perceptions, prevention and treatments practices for childhood malaria by mothers in rural communities. Materials and Methods: We conducted a community-based cross-sectional study at rural communities of Ise-Orun local Government area, Nigeria. We randomly sampled 422 mothers of children less than 5 years and administered a validated questionnaire to assess their perceptions and practices relating to childhood malaria. We used a 10-point scale to assess perception and classified it as good (≥5) or poor (<5). Predictive factors for poor perceptions were identified using logistic regression. Results: Approximately 51% of the mothers had poor perception and 14.2% ascribed malaria illness to mosquito bite only. Majority (85.8%) of the mothers practiced malaria preventive measures, including: Insecticide treated nets (70.0%), chemoprophylaxis (20.1%) and environmental sanitation (44.8%). Of the 200 mothers whose children had malaria fever within the 3 months prior to the study visits, home treatment was adopted by 87.5%. Local herbal remedies were combined with orthodox medicine in the treatments of malaria for 91.5% of the children. The main reasons for not seeking medical treatment at existing formal health facilities were "high cost", "challenges of access to facilities" and "mothers' preference for herbal remedies". Lack of formal education was the only independent predictor of poor malaria perceptions among mothers (OR = 1.91, 95% CI = 1.18, 3.12). Conclusions: Considerable misconceptions about malaria exist among mothers in the rural communities. The implications for malaria control in holoendemic areas are highlighted.

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