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Free Content Feasibility and acceptability of the use of artemether-lumefantrine in the home management of uncomplicated malaria in children 6–59 months old in Ghana

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Abstract:

Summary Objective 

We assessed the feasibility and acceptability of and the willingness to use artemether-lumefantrine (Coartem) during early, appropriate treatment of malaria/fever in children aged 6–59 months at the community and household level in a rural malaria-endemic area in Ghana. Method 

In this descriptive study with a pre- post-evaluation of an intervention, community perceptions of fever, health-seeking behaviour and current treatment practices for children aged 6–59 months were ascertained through qualitative research and surveys. The children were counted in a household census and given identification cards. Community-based agents (who were supervised monthly) dispensed a 6-dose-treatment formulation of Coartem over a 4 months period and counseled caregivers on case management and referral. Caregivers who consulted were followed up after 4 days to determine adherence to the treatment regimen. Blister packs of the drugs were inspected where available. The performance of the agents in terms of counselling, advising on referral and reporting was evaluated. Community satisfaction was also assessed qualitatively through focus group discussions and interviews. Results 

Three hundred and sixty-three children sought care during the intervention period. All 235 children aged 6–35 months were correctly provided the one tablet per dose per treatment package compared with 119 of 125 children 36–59 months (95.2%). Only 5 of 17 children were referred appropriately. All 334 caregivers followed the correct drug administration schedule, i.e. twice a day for 3 days. Validation of drugs received indicates that all 204 children aged 6–35 months and 103/118 (87.3%) children aged 36–59 months received the correct drug dose. Adherence of agents and caregivers to the treatment was 308/334 (92.5%). Delay in seeking care was reduced from 3 to 2 days. No serious adverse drug reactions were reported. Community members were enthusiastic about the performance of the agents. Conclusion 

A Home Management of Malaria (HMM) strategy with Coartem using trained community-based agents supervised monthly is feasible, acceptable, and can achieve high levels of compliance within Dangme, West District of Ghana. However, if the intervention is to be sustainable, the agents need to be paid.

Keywords: CoartemĀ®; artemisinin-based combination therapy; children under five; home management; malaria

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3156.2006.01654.x

Affiliations: 1:  Health Research Unit, Ghana Health Service, Accra, Ghana 2:  UNDP/UNICEF/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, World Health Organization,  Geneva, Switzerland 3:  Dodowa Health Research Centre, Dodowa, Ghana

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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