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Title: A qualitative study of the feasibility and community perception on the effectiveness of artemether-lumefantrine use in the context of home management of malaria in south-west Nigeria
Authors: Ajayi, I. O.
Falade, C. O.
Olley, B. O
Yusuf, B.
Gbotosho, S.
Iyiola, T.
Olaniyan, O.
Happi, C.
Munguti, K
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd.
Abstract: Background: In Nigeria ACT use at the community level has not been evaluated and the use of antimalarial drugs (commonly chloroquine (CQ)) at home has been shown to be largely incorrect. The treatment regimen of ACT is however more complicated than that of CQ. There is thus a need to determine the feasibility of using ACT at the home level and determine community perception on its use. Methods: A before and after qualitative study using key informant interviews (KII) and focus group discussions (FGDs) was conducted in selected villages in Ona-Ara local government area. At baseline, 14 FGDs and 14 KIIs were conducted. Thereafter, community medicine distributors (CMDs) were trained in each village to dispense artemeter-lumenfantrine (AL) to febrile children aged 6–59 months presumed to have uncomplicated malaria. After one year of drug distribution, nine KIIs and 10 FGDs were conducted. Participants and key informants were mothers and fathers with children under five years, traditional heads of communities, opinion leaders and health workers. Results: None of the participants have heard of AL prior to study. Participants were favourably disposed to introduction of AL into the community. Mothers/caregivers were said to have used AL in place of the orthodox drugs and herbs reported commonly used prior to study after commencement of AL distribution. The use of CMDs for drug distribution was acceptable to the participants and they were judged to be efficient as they were readily available, distributed correct dose of AL and mobilised the community effectively. AL was perceived to be very effective and no significant adverse event was reported. Major concerns to the sustainability of the program were the negative attitudes of health workers towards discharge of their duties, support to the CMDs and the need to provide CMDs incentives. In addition regular supply of drugs and adequate supervision of CMDs were advised. Conclusion: Our findings showed that the use of AL at home and community level is feasible with adequate training of community medicine distributors and caregivers. Community members perceived AL to be effective thus fostering acceptability. The negative attitudes of the health workers and issue of incentives to CMDs need to be addressed for successful scaling-up of ACT use at community level.
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