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Child malaria treatment practices among mothers in the district of Yanfolila, Sikasso region, Mali

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We studied child malaria treatment practices among mothers living in the District of Yanfolila in southern Mali. For sampling, we first chose five of 13 health areas with probability proportional to size. Then villages, compounds and mothers with at least one child aged 1–5 years were randomly chosen. We assessed the spleen size of one 1–5 year-old child of each mother, collected a thick blood film and recorded the body temperature of every child whose mother thought he/she was sick. 399 mothers in 28 villages were interviewed with a structured questionnaire divided into two parts. If the child had had soumaya (a term previously associated with uncomplicated malaria) during the past rainy season, we asked about signs and symptoms, health-seeking behaviour (who the mother consulted first) and treatment. If not, information about knowledge of the disease and treatment to be given was collected. 86% of the mothers interviewed stated that their child had been sick and almost half of them had had soumaya. All mothers named at least one sign by which they recognized the disease. Vomiting, fever and dark urine/yellow eyes/jaundice were the three most common signs mentioned. 75.8% managed their child's disease at home and used both traditional and modern treatment. The most common anti-malarial drug was chloroquine, often given at inappropriate dosage. The sensitivity and specificity of the mothers' diagnosis was poor, although this might be explained by the large percentage of children who had already been treated at the time of the interview. The results of our survey call for prompt educational action for the correct treatment of uncomplicated malaria/soumaya, particularly for mothers and possibly for shopkeepers. The high spleen rate (58.1%) among randomly selected children confirms that malaria is a common disease in this area. Improved case-management at home could only be beneficial.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-12-01

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