Factors affecting treatment-seeking for febrile illness in a malaria endemic block in Boudh district, Orissa, India: Policy implications for malaria control

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Background. Orissa state in eastern India accounts for the highest malaria burden to the nation. However, evidences are limited on its treatment-seeking behaviour in the state. We assessed the treatment-seeking behaviour towards febrile illness in a malaria endemic district in Orissa. Methods. A cross-sectional community-based survey was carried out during the high malaria transmission season of 2006 in Boudh district. Respondents (n = 300) who had fever with chills within two weeks prior to the day of data collection were selected through a multi-stage sampling and interviewed with a pre-tested and structured interview schedule. Malaria treatment providers (n = 23) were interviewed in the district to gather their insights on factors associated with prompt and effective treatment through a semi-structured and open-ended interview guideline. Results. Majority of respondents (n = 281) sought some sort of treatment e.g. government health facility (35.7%), less qualified providers (31.3%), and community level health workers and volunteers (24.3%). The single most common reason (66.9%) for choosing a provider was proximity. Over a half (55.7%) sought treatment from appropriate providers within 48 hours of onset of symptoms. Respondents under five years (OR 2.00, 95% CI 0.84-4.80, P = 0.012), belonging to scheduled tribe community (OR 2.13, 95% CI 1.11-4.07, P = 0.022) and visiting a provider more than five kilometers (OR 2.04, 95% CI 1.09-3.83, P = 0.026) were more likely to have delayed or inappropriate treatment. Interviews with the providers indicated that patients' lack of trust in community volunteers providing treatment led to inappropriate treatment-seeking from the less qualified providers. The reasons for the lack of trust included drug side effects, suspicions about drug quality, stock-outs of drugs and inappropriate attitude of the provider. Conclusion. Large-scale involvement of less qualified providers is suggested in the malaria control programme as volunteers after appropriate capacity development since the community has more trust in them. This should be supported by uninterrupted supply of drugs to the community volunteers, and involvement of the community-based organizations and volunteers in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of malaria control services. There is also a need for continuous and rigorous impact evaluations of the program to make necessary modifications, scale up and to prevent drug resistance. © 2010 Das and Ravindran; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Das, A., & Ravindran, T. S. (2010). Factors affecting treatment-seeking for febrile illness in a malaria endemic block in Boudh district, Orissa, India: Policy implications for malaria control. Malaria Journal, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-9-377

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