Malaria: Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices in Some Sub-Saharan African Communities

Malaria: Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices in Some Sub-Saharan African Communities

Omolade Olayinka Okwa (Lagos State University, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2139-7.ch003

Abstract

Malaria is transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito and is a parasitic disease which is caused by the Plasmodium species. It is a serious communicable disease in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The most vulnerable group is children aged 0-5 years. Malaria is responsible for most outpatient visits, hospital admissions and the main cause of school and work absenteeism. Knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) are essential for control programmes being the educational diagnosis and perception of a community about a disease which affects their attitudes and practices. This chapter reviews that the KAP of most communities in SSA have existing gaps which impacts on the control of malaria. A sound and adequate understanding of malaria and its proper recognition are crucial to its control. The inclusion of malaria education in a pupil's curriculum and effective information on the electronic and social media can change the misconceptions about malaria and correct attitudes and practices to intensify control efforts.
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Background: The Global Picture Of Malaria

Globally, malaria remains the most important parasitic disease and a social public health problem being a major threat in the world today (Centre for Disease Control; CDC, 2019). In 2016, it was reported that the disease was present in about 97 countries covering half the world’s population causing up to a million deaths a year (WHO, 2016). In 2017, malaria was estimated to infect over 300-500 million people yearly, so an estimated half of the world’s population were at risk (WHO, 2017). The World malaria report, estimated that there were 219 million cases of malaria in 2017, in 87 countries and 10 highest burden African countries had an estimated 3.5 million more malaria cases in 2017 than in 2016 (WHO, 2018). According to Tambo (2019), the estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 435 000 in 2017 alone and 11 countries accounted for approximately 70% of estimated malaria cases and deaths globally in 10 SSA countries and in India (WHO, 2018)

According to Salomon (2014), the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) is a measure of overall disease burden, expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death. It is a way of comparing the overall health and life expectancy of different countries. Almost 3% of DALYS are due to malaria mortality globally, with 10% burden in Africa (WHO, 2019). The global malaria burden indicates that endemicity of malaria in SSA alone is more than an estimated 80% of cases. Over 90% of deaths of the global burden are restricted to 30 countries in SSA (WHO, 2017). The global malaria picture is very disturbing because it is a huge economic and intolerable burden that calls for global action to eliminate it. By and large, conquering malaria, a deadly scourge and human formidable foe is still a great challenge to the whole world, today (CDC, 2019).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mortality: The number of deaths occurring in a place and time.

Holoendemic: The intense transmission of a disease throughout the seasons or all year round.

Endemicity: The common and widespread presence of a disease in a particular place or region.

Incidence: The number of times or rates at which something happens at a given time.

Prevalence: The percentage of a population that is infected with a particular disease at a given time.

Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYS): This is a measure of overall disease burden, expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death.

Etiology: The cause or origin of a disease or illness.

Risk: A possibility of being infected with a disease.

Morbidity: A diseased state or a state of ill health.

Burden: The load or weight of a disease in a particular place at a given time.

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