Zingani et al., 2017 Socio-economic and Socio-cultural factors affecting malaria control interventions in Zambia
Background: Malaria remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Zambia. Despite Zambia implementing a number of interventions aimed at controlling malaria, the disease prevalence remains high (above 50%) in Milenge district, Luapula province. This is a cause of great concern. The aim of this study was to determine key socio-economic and socio-cultural practices affecting malaria control interventions among communities in Milenge district.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted at four rural Health Centres in Milenge district in 2015. A total of 192 randomly selected adult patients and/or their caregivers were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse data using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20 software.
Results: Farming and fishing was the most common occupation among respondents (91.15%, n=175) indicating a low socio-economic status. Educational level (p<0.001; χ2=29.52), occupation (p<0.003; χ2=16.07) and monthly income (p<0.001; χ2=23.80) significantly associated with knowledge of malaria transmission and prevention interventions. Although there was a strong association between knowledge of malaria transmission and use of ITN for malaria (p<0.001; χ2 = 31), about 20% indicated using unconventional methods such as indigenous local herbs to treat or prevent malaria and 3% reported consulting traditional healers.
Conclusion: Low socio-economic status was the main key factor affecting malaria control interventions in Milenge district. Socio-cultural practices such as traditional belief systems and use of unconventional herbal medicines were still practiced in spite of sufficient knowledge of malaria transmission and the