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Assessment of a treatment guideline to improve home management of malaria in children in rural south-west Nigeria

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Ajayi, I. O., C. O. Falade, et al. (2008). "Assessment of a treatment guideline to improve home management of malaria in children in rural south-west Nigeria." Malaria Journal 7(24): 29 January 2008-2029 January 2008.

Background: Many Nigerian children with malaria are treated at home. Treatments are mostly incorrect, due to caregivers' poor knowledge of appropriate and correct dose of drugs. A comparative study was carried out in two rural health districts in southwest Nigeria to determine the effectiveness of a guideline targeted at caregivers, in the treatment of febrile children using chloroquine.

Methods: Baseline and post intervention knowledge, attitude and practice household surveys were conducted. The intervention strategy consisted of training a core group of mothers ("mother trainers") in selected communities on the correct treatment of malaria and distributing a newly developed treatment guideline to each household. "Mother trainers" disseminated the educational messages about malaria and the use of the guideline to their communities.

Results: Knowledge of cause, prevention and treatment of malaria increased with the one-year intervention. Many, (70.4%) of the respondents stated that they used the guideline each time a child was treated for malaria. There was a significant increase in the correct use of chloroquine from 2.6% at baseline to 52.3% after intervention among those who treated children at home in the intervention arm compared with 4.2% to 12.7% in the control arm. The correctness of use was significantly associated with use of the guideline. The timeliness of commencing treatment was significantly earlier in those who treated febrile children at home using chloroquine than those who took their children to the chemist or health facility (p<0.005). Mothers considered the guideline to be explicit and useful. Mother trainers were also considered to be effective and acceptable.

Conclusions: The use of the guideline with adequate training significantly improved correctness of malaria treatment with chloroquine at home. Adoption of this mode of intervention is recommended to improve compliance with drug use at home. The applicability for deploying artemisinin-based combination therapy at the community level need to be investigated.

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