Utilization of a local ‘Malaria Post’ indicates that carers from a village in Mozambique respond appropriately to malaria attacks

Jacques D. Charlwood, Erzelia V.E. Tomás, Sonia Enosse, Sara P. Saija, Jannick Sahlholdt, Lourenço Filemon, Ayubo Kampango

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

As malaria elimination becomes a possibility the focus of interventions changes from vector control to disease control. It is important that treatment occurs early during an infection in order for it to be efficacious, especially at the population level. The time between the onset of symptoms and treatment seeking is, therefore, crucial. Following a census and an oral autopsy survey of the inhabitants of Furvela, a village in southern Mozambique, a malaria post (MP) where malaria was diagnosed and treated was established in 2001. The time between the onset of symptoms and attendance at the MP was determined and compared to the severity of disease. A cross-sectional survey was also conducted, in 2007, to determine prevalence amongst 235 children aged between 6 months and 15 years of age. Malaria was hyperendemic in the village and was responsible for most deaths reported from the two years prior to the start of the project. In the prevalence survey 74% of two-to-four-year-old children had malaria parasites. The likelihood of being parasite positive was significantly higher in children living in houses with roofs made of traditional materials compared to those living in houses with tin roofs. At the start of the project only 12% of residents owned or used a mosquito net, most of which were not treated with insecticide. However, even before any formal intervention, malaria declined in the village between 2001 and 2007, but there was a rebound in later years. Nevertheless, the relative proportion of patients who had to be referred to the hospital declined significantly in the latter years of the project, and the incidence of both Plasmodium ovale and P. malariae also decreased significantly. Overall 16698 patients, the majority of which were under one year of age, attended the MP between 2001 and 2010. The proportion of patients with a positive slide for P. falciparum remained relatively constant throughout the study (mean 0.66 std. dev. 0.3) Most of the patients came from the village of Furvela, or its environs, but some came from the nearby town, ostensibly because of the good treatment they received. Infection rates increased up to the first three years of life to a peak incidence of 92% at 31 months. Children with fever had higher parasite densities than those without fever. Mothers generally bought their children to the MP on the second day of symptoms but on the first day if they had fever. Older patients, with lower density infections, delayed in coming for treatment. These patients may harbour sub-microscopic gametocytes which would help maintain transmission in the village. Mothers acted appropriately in their treatment seeking behaviour. The establishment of village-based MPs are an effective way of providing adequate diagnosis and treatment in villages such as Furvela.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106017
JournalActa Tropica
Volume221
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Malaria incidence
  • Malaria rebound
  • Treatment seeking behaviour

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