A qualitative study on health workers’ and community members’ perceived sources, role of information and communication on malaria treatment prevention and control in southeast Nigeria

JC Umeano-Enemuoh, B Uzochukwu, N Ezumah, L Mangham-Jefferies, V Wiseman, O Onwujekwe.

BMC Infectious Diseases 2015, 15:437 | DOI:10.1186/s12879-015-1187-2

Abstract

Background: It has been widely acknowledged that well-planned and executed communication programmes can contribute to achieving malaria prevention and treatment goals. This however requires a good understanding of current sources and roles of information used by both health workers and communities. The study aimed at determining health workers’ and community members’ sources, value and use of information on malaria prevention and treatment in Nigeria.

Methods: Qualitative data was collected from six selected communities (three urban and three rural) in Enugu state, southeast Nigeria. A total of 18 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with 179 community members and 26 in-depth interviews (IDIs) with health workers in public and private health facilities were used to collect data on where people receive treatment for malaria and access information on malaria. The FGDS and IDIs also provided data on the values, uses and effects of information and communication on malaria treatment seeking and provision of services.

Results: The findings revealed that the major sources of information on malaria for health workers and community members were advertisements in the mass media, workshops and seminars organized by donor agencies, facility supervision, posters, other health workers, television and radio adverts. Community involvement in the design and delivery of information on malaria control was seen as a strong strategy for improving both consumer and provider knowledge. Information from the different sources catalyzed appropriate provision and consumption of malaria treatment amongst health workers and community members.

Conclusion: Health workers and consumers receive information on malaria prevention and treatment from multiple sources of communication and information, which they find useful. Harnessing these information sources to encourage consistent and accurate messages around malaria prevention and treatment is a necessary first step in the design and implementation of malaria communication and behaviour change interventions and ultimately for the sustained control of malaria.

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