Knowledge, attitudes and practices of malaria in Colombia

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Background: Although Colombia has witnessed an important decrease in malaria transmission, the disease remains a public health problem with an estimated ∼10 million people currently living in areas with malaria risk and ∼61,000 cases reported in 2012. This study aimed to determine and compare the level of knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) about malaria in three endemic communities of Colombia to provide the knowledge framework for development of new intervention strategies for malaria elimination. Methods. A cross-sectional KAP survey was conducted in the municipalities of Tierralta, Buenaventura and Tumaco, categorized according to high risk (HR) and moderate risk (MR) based on the annual parasite index (API). Surveys were managed using REDCap and analysed using MATLAB and GraphPad Prism. Results: A total of 267 residents, mostly women (74%) were surveyed. Although no differences were observed on the knowledge of classical malaria symptoms between HR and MR regions, significant differences were found in knowledge and attitudes about transmission mechanisms, anti-malarial use and malaria diagnosis. Most responders in both regions (93.5% in MR, and 94.3% in HR areas) indicated use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) to protect themselves from malaria, and 75.5% of responders in HR indicated they did nothing to prevent malaria transmission outdoors. Despite a high level of knowledge in the study regions, significant gaps persisted relating to practices. Self-medication and poor adherence to treatment, as well as lack of both indoor and outdoor vector control measures, were significantly associated with higher malaria risk. Conclusions: Although significant efforts are currently being made by the Ministry of Health to use community education as one of the main components of the control strategy, these generic education programmes may not be applicable to all endemic regions of Colombia given the substantial geographic, ethnic and cultural diversity. © 2014 Forero et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Forero, D. A., Chaparro, P. E., Vallejo, A. F., Benavides, Y., Gutiérrez, J. B., Arévalo-Herrera, M., & Herrera, S. (2014). Knowledge, attitudes and practices of malaria in Colombia. Malaria Journal, 13(1).

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