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Free Content Local terminology for medicines to treat fever in Bougouni District, Mali: implications for the introduction and evaluation of malaria treatment policies

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Abstract:

Summary Objective 

To explore Bambara language terminology and classification for locally available antimicrobial medicines in order to better target promotional messages and improve evaluation measures in Bougouni District, Mali. Methods 

Mothers (n = 20) and drug vendors (n = 15) were asked to freelist medicines used to treat childhood illnesses, and to identify all medicines that corresponded to each of the listed terms from an array of medicines displayed with their packaging. Results 

Each Bambara language medicine term can refer to numerous modern medicines, and each modern medicine has several Bambara names. The term nivakini (Nivaquine), often translated as ‘chloroquine’, refers to a wide range of medicines commonly used to treat malaria, many with no antimalarial effect. Antibiotics were also identified as common treatments for malaria. Mothers and vendors used slightly different terminology when discussing treatments for malaria, and sometimes employed the same term to refer to different medicines. Neither mothers nor vendors clearly differentiated between antimalarial medicines. Colour, shape and packaging play a large role in their recognition, classification and use. Conclusions 

Current household survey methods are likely to provide inaccurate estimates of appropriate treatment of febrile illness, and thus alternative approaches are recommended. In introducing new malaria treatments, malaria control programmes should differentiate recommended treatments from other medications through distinctive packaging, drug appearance and appropriate Bambara language terms.

Keywords: cognitive anthropology; home management; malaria; private sector; terminology; treatment

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3156.2006.01713.x

Affiliations: 1:  Department of Behavioral Science and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA 2:  Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA 3:  Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA 4:  Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy and Dentistry, University of Bamako, Bamako, Mali

Publication date: 2006-10-01

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