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Research: Knowledge, attitudes and practices on malaria in relation to its transmission among primary school children in Bagamoyo district, Tanzania

February 19, 2016 - 08:21 -- Open Access
Deborah Sumari, Angel Dillip, Vitalis Ndume, Joseph P. Mugasa, Paul S. Gwakisa
MWJ2016, 7, 2
Article type: 
We investigated the knowledge and understanding of primary school children on malaria transmission, recognition of symptoms, treatment seeking behaviour, preventive measures and practices in order to potentially include this group in Tanzania’s malaria control efforts. 125 children were recruited from three purposively selected primary schools in Bagamoyo district, Tanzania. A semi-structured interview guide, including both closed and open-ended questions, was used to collect information from the participants to obtain their knowledge and understanding on malaria transmission, treatment and prevention. More than half of the school children (79/125; 63.2%) had knowledge on malaria as a disease and its transmission; 101/125 (80.8%) of the respondents reported that going to the hospital was their immediate care-seeking behaviour once they felt malaria symptoms, while 14/125 (11.2%) opted for self-medication. With regard to malaria prevention and control, 115/125 (92.0%) of the respondents reported using bednets as their main malaria prevention strategy, while 6/125 (4.8%) preferred the use of medicine, mostly artemether lumefantrine, as prophylaxis. Narratives obtained were able to explain clearly the rationale behind different options children took to treat and to protect themselves against malaria. Findings indicated that primary school children in Bagamoyo district are aware of malaria, its symptoms and preventive measures, although some had misconceptions and could not associate the disease with its transmission. We conclude that inclusion of school children on malaria control educational programmes could yield substantial benefits towards malaria elimination.


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Submitted by william jobin (not verified) on
This is a very encouraging report on malaria knowledge among primary students. But it would be interesting to have some field checks on the verbal responses of the children. For instance, although 92% reported using bednets, how many actually did? Or could this simply be the response the children thought they should give? It might be valuable to try this questionnaire again, with a group who could also have their behavior monitored.

Submitted by Sombroek HLI on
It would also be interesting to expand the education with class activities such as the biology of anopheles and recognition of adult mosquito and larvae with a binoc or microscope, outdoor activities such as mosquito suveys,detecting breedingsites and destroying breeding sites of mosquitoes, and homework activities such as writing down mosqiuto stories told by the grandparents. In a plafull way traditional knowledge and misconceptions will be dectected and possible crouwdsourcing data could be retrieved. A great example is the following report Okabayashi H et al 2006: Keys to success for a school-based malaria control program in primary schools in Thailand. Parasitol Int 2006, 55:121-126.

H.L.I. Sombroek

Submitted by Deborah Sumari on
Many thanks Sombroek for such a wonderful additional point. We will take it into consideration

Submitted by Deborah Sumari on
Many thanks William for your comment. It may be yes they all use bednets or they just responded but we are planning a follow up study where after getting their responses, we go physically to their houses to see if they practice what they speak.