Exploring communities' and health workers' perceptions of indicators and drivers of malaria decline in Malindi, Kenya

Kibe LW, Habluetzel A, Gachigi JK, Kamau AW, Mbogo CM
Malariaworld J. 2019;8

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BACKGROUND: Since 2000, a decrease in malaria burden has been observed in most endemic countries. Declining infection rates and disease burden and reduction in asymptomatic carriers are the outcome of improved quality of care and related health system factors. These include improved case management through better diagnosis, implementation of highly effective antimalarial drugs and increased use of bednets. We studied communities' and health workers' perceptions of indicators and drivers in the context of decreasing malaria transmission in Malindi, Kenya. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A variety of qualitative methods that included participatory rural appraisal (PRA) tools such as community river of life and trend lines, focus group discussions (FGDs) and key informant interviews were used. Studies took place between November 2013 and April 2014. RESULTS: Providing residents with bednets contributed to malaria reduction, and increasing community awareness on the causes and symptoms of malaria and improved malaria treatment were also perceived to contribute to the decline of malaria. The study identified three perceived drivers to the reported decline in malaria: a) community health workers' enhanced awareness creation towards household owners regarding malaria-related activities through visitations and awareness sessions, b) Women involvement in Savings Internal Lending Community was perceived to have increased their financial base, thereby improving their decision-making power towards the care of their sick child(ren), c) Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and partners played a promoter part in health and general economic development initiatives. CONCLUSIONS: To achieve the goal of malaria elimination, collaboration between governmental and NGOs will be crucial when improving the financial base of women and enhancing participation of community health workers.