Treatment-seeking behaviour for febrile illness in an area of seasonal malaria transmission in rural Ethiopia.Malar J. 2007 Apr 26; 6:49.MJ
Very little is known about the management of malaria and treatment-seeking patterns among children and adults in areas of seasonal malaria transmission particularly in east Africa.
The aim of this study was to assess treatment-seeking behaviour for reported malaria among all age groups in an area of seasonal transmission.
A community-based cross-sectional study was carried out among 2,253 households in 12 randomly selected rural kebeles in Adami Tulu district in south-central Ethiopia, during October-November 2003, using a pre-tested interviewer-administered structured questionnaire.
Reported malaria was 14% among 12,225 people assessed during the last 14 days. Family/self-diagnosis was most common and the main first responses included visiting village-based community health workers (CHWs) (33%), public health facility (23%) and private clinic (17%). Home treatment was the least reported first response (3%). Only 13% had sought treatment within the first 24 hours of symptom onset. Early treatment-seeking pattern was reported among those who visited CHWs and practiced home treatment, with more delays among public facility users. Treatment-seeking behaviour was similar in all age groups.
A considerable proportion of visits were made to CHWs and private providers, necessitating the importance of strengthening both community-based interventions and peripheral public and private facilities. Finally, the community should be informed and educated about the importance of early diagnosis and prompt treatment with effective antimalarials.