There is poor knowledge about prevention and treatment of malaria in the Eastern Region of the country, a study by Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa has found.
The study, conducted in Darmang Anhuntem, located in the Akuapim South Municipality of the Eastern Region, found that a large number of the populace had no clear knowledge about the causes and prevention of malaria.
52% of respondents said working close to a heat-source like fire or in the sun, eating too much oil or starch, houseflies, cold temperatures, and airborne particles are also causes of malaria.
The same number of respondents felt that malaria and fever is the same thing.
When asked about first response to a suspected malaria infection , more than two-thirds of the respondents reported not seeking hospital care for treatment of malaria due to lack of financial means and geographical access. An overwhelming 73% of respondents said they would selfmedicate with traditional herbs or over-the-counter drugs. Only 17% of respondents would go to a hospital.
However, despite the low numbers seeking first response treatment at a hospital, 64% of respondents believed that being diagnosed and receiving care at a hospital is the best way to treat malaria.
17% of respondents who had national health insurance (NHIS) said that they sometimes opted out of going to the hospital due to inconvenient location and the cost of transportation to the healthcare facility. They instead opted for easily accessed herbs and drugs at a local drugstore.
The awareness and existence of malaria protection options in Darmang is also very limited. Most respondents initially cited bush clearing, cleaning, and taking preventative drugs as primary methods in effectively preventing malaria.
Using an Insecticide Treated mosquito Net (ITN) was secondary. While 68% of respondents owned at least one net, only 22 % of the respondents who owned a net said every member in their family slept under one.
In Ghana, one out of every ten children will die before reaching the age of five and malaria is still the number-one cause of these deaths.
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