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Consumers stated and revealed preferences for community health workers and other strategies for the provision of timely and appropriate treatment of malaria in southeast Nigeria

Author(s): Onwujekwe Obinna | Dike Nkem | Ojukwu Juliana | Uzochukwu Benjamin | Ezumah Nkoli | Shu Elvis | Okonkwo Paul

Journal: Malaria Journal
ISSN 1475-2875

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 117;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Abstract Background The African Heads of State meeting in Abuja, Nigeria on Roll Back Malaria adopted effective treatment of malaria nearer the home as one of the strategies for malaria control in Africa. A potentially effective strategy for bringing early, appropriate and low cost treatment of malaria closer to the home is through the use of community health workers (CHWs). There is paucity of information about people's actual preferences for CHWs and how stated preferences relates to revealed preferences for both the CHW strategy and other strategies for improving the timeliness of malaria treatment in not only Nigeria but in many malaria endemic countries. Objectives To determine peoples' stated and actual preferences for different strategies for improving the timeliness and appropriateness of treatment of malaria before and after the implementation of a community health workers (CHW) strategy in their community. Methods A prospective study was undertaken in a rural malaria holo-endemic Nigerian community. A questionnaire was used to collect information on health-seeking from householders before (first survey) and after (second survey) implementation of a CHW malaria treatement strategy. Results The consumers mostly preferred the CHW strategy over self-treatment in the homes and other strategies of treatment. The use of community health workers (CHWs) increased from 0% to 26.1% (p < 0.05), while self-treatment in the homes decreased from 9.4% to 0% (p < 0.05) after the implementation of the CHW strategy. Use of patent medicine dealers also decreased from 44.8% to 17.9% (p < 0.05) after CHW strategy was implemented. Conclusion Community health workers can be used to improve and ensure timely and appropriate treatment of malaria. The CHW strategy could also be sustained since it was preferred and used by consumers over self-treatment in the homes as well as other strategies for improving treatment. Hence, the CHW strategy is a feasible and promising method of improving home-management of uncomplicated malaria.

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