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Open Access Research article

Predictors of malaria-association with rubber plantations in Thailand

Pratana Satitvipawee12, Warunnee Wongkhang23, Sarika Pattanasin4, Penprapai Hoithong5 and Adisak Bhumiratana26*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Biostatistics, Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University, Bangkok, 10400, Thailand

2 Center for EcoHealth Disease Modeling and Intervention Development Research, Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand

3 Chaiyarat Subdistrict Health Promoting Hospital, Bang Saphan Noi District, Prachuap Khiri Khan, 77170, Thailand

4 Doctoral Program for Public Health (Epidemiology), Department of Epidemiology, Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University, Bangkok, 10400, Thailand

5 Prachuap Khiri Khan Provincial Health Office, Prachuap Khiri Khan, 77000, Thailand

6 Department of Parasitology and Entomology, Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2012, 12:1115  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-1115

Published: 27 December 2012

Abstract

Background

The national Global Fund-supported malaria (GFM) program in Thailand, which focuses on the household-level implementation of vector control via insecticide-treated nets (ITNs)/long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) combined with indoor residual spraying (IRS), has been combating malaria risk situations in different provinces with complex epidemiological settings. By using the perception of malaria villagers (MVs), defined as villagers who recognized malaria burden and had local understanding of mosquitoes, malaria, and ITNs/LLINs and practiced preventive measures, this study investigated the predictors for malaria that are associated with rubber plantations in an area of high household-level implementation coverage of IRS (2007–2010) and ITNs/LLINs (2008–2010) in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province.

Methods

A structured questionnaire addressing socio-demographics, household characteristics and health behavioral factors (knowledge, perceptions and practices) regarding the performed interventions was administered to the 313 households (70 malaria-affected and 243 malaria-unaffected) that had respondents aged ≥18 years of both genders. In the univariate and multivariate analyses, only 246 (78.6%) MV respondents (62 malaria-affected and 184 malaria-unaffected) were analyzed to determine the predictors for risk (morbidity).

Results

The majority (70%) of households were covered by IRS. For a combination of ITNs/LLINs, there were 74% of malaria-affected households covered and 46% of malaria-unaffected households. In a logistic regression analysis using odds ratios (aORs) adjusted on the variables and a 95% confidence interval (CI), malaria affecting MVs was associated with daily worker (i.e., earning daily income by normally practicing laborious activities mostly in agriculture such as rubber tapping and rubber sheet processing at the smallholdings of rubber plantations) (aOR = 2.9, 95% CI: 1.1-7.4), low-moderate level of malaria knowledge (aOR = 2.4, 95% CI: 1.1-5.0) and sleeping under mosquito-nets (nets/ITNs/LLINs intermittently and ITNs/LLINs only) (aOR = 2.0, 95% CI: 1.0-3.7).

Conclusions

The MV predictors for malaria-association with rubber plantations included occupation (daily worker), misconceptions about malaria (mosquito and prevention) and the use of mosquito-nets. Human practices such as revisiting rubber plantations while exposed to multiple bites at multiple locations are more likely to apply to daily workers than to rubber farmers/tappers and others. The promotion and use of ITNs/LLINs depends substantially on cultural factors and defensive behaviors relevant to their occupational risk despite the perceived threats of malaria and the perceived benefits of ITNs/LLINs. This information supports the conclusion that GFM program implementation in Thailand or elsewhere for malaria-associated with rubber plantations would benefit from the potential use of ITNs/LLINs and changes in personal protection behaviors.

Keywords:
Health behavioral factors; Insecticide-treated nets; Long-lasting insecticidal nets; Malaria-associated rubber plantations; Occupational risk; Personal protection behaviors; Sleeping under mosquito-nets