A community survey of 388 mothers in a rural and peri-urban population surrounding a district hospital on the coast of Kenya revealed that the preferred choice of treatment for childhood febrile illnesses was with proprietary drugs bought over the counter at shops and kiosks (72% of interviews). 67% of the mothers who reported using shops claimed they would buy chloroquine-based drugs. Preventative measures such as mosquito nets were uncommon (6.2%), but the use of commercial pyrethrum mosquito coils was reported more frequently (46.4%). Separate investigations of treatment given to 394 children before presentation at hospital with severe and mild malaria was consistent with the reports in the community of high usage of shop-bought anti-malarials and anti-pyretics. The involvement of the private sector in peripheral health care delivery for malaria is discussed.
Snow, R. W., Peshu, N., Forster, D., Mwenesi, H., Marsh, K.