Background: Intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) is likely to be the most promising therapeutic strategy to prevent malaria and its related adverse outcomes in schoolchildren. However, its successful implementation will depend on acceptability to key stakeholders such as parents and teachers. Methods: A qualitative research was conducted, following a clinical trial assessing the effectiveness of IPT in schoolchildren (IPTsc), to understand the perceptions and experiences of parents and teachers with IPTsc, in two schools of Mokali, in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Eighty parents participated in 8 focus group discussions and 6 school staff were involved in 6 semi-structured interviews. Results: Parents experiences with IPTsc divided them into two groups (owning positive experiences and owning negative experiences with IPTsc). Three major themes emerged as key factors associated with reluctance of parents to IPT use in schoolchildren. These included wrong malaria-related knowledge, bad experience with IPTsc administered during the trial and misunderstanding of IPTsc. The school staff were generally willing to be trained to give medicine to schoolchildren within the scope of IPT. However, most parents were more comfortable with the use of health workers than teachers for drug administration. More importantly, all parents accepting IPT suggested to diagnose malaria infection before any administration of IPT, which is not in line with IPT principal. Conclusion: These results suggest that more efforts are needed to improve overall malaria-related knowledge in the community, specifically chemo-prevention strategies and the safety of the drugs used, to ensure the success of health interventions.
Matangila, J. R., Fraeyman, J., Kambulu, M. L. M., Mpanya, A., Da Luz, R. I., Lutumba, P., … Bastiaens, H. (2017). The perception of parents and teachers about intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in school children in a semi-rural area of Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Malaria Journal, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12936-016-1670-2