There were 219 million cases of malaria with 600,000 deaths in 2010. Current UK guidance recommends malaria chemoprophylaxis for travellers to malaria endemic areas. Despite proven efficacy, compliance amongst long-term travellers with prophylaxis and personal protective strategies is sub-optimal. This survey assesses compliance rates amongst Foreign and Commonwealth Office employees on placement in malaria endemic areas and establishes the rationale for their decisions.
A Survey Monkey questionnaire was circulated to Foreign and Commonwealth Office employees on long-term placement in endemic areas. This ascertained background knowledge of malaria, compliance with prevention strategies and the rationale for decisions made.
The response rate was 56.5% (327 of 579); responses showed a good knowledge of malaria. 59% of respondents continued their prophylaxis for 0-3 months only. No pregnant women reported compliance of greater than 95%. More than half of the individuals with a compliance of <25% cited concerns about long term safety. 39.5% of respondents reported significant side-effects to chemoprophylaxis. 12.8% reported contracting malaria.
Despite being well informed, poor adherence was reported, especially amongst pregnant respondents. The majority of individuals ceased medication within three months. Concern regarding the safety of long-term medication was the major barrier. Suggestions are made regarding optimisation of compliance or alternative strategies.