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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A public private partnership to fight against malaria along the Chad-Cameroon pipeline corridor: I. Baseline data on socio-anthropological aspects, knowledge, attitudes and practices of the population concerning malaria

Roger Moyou-Somo12*, Paul Essomba1, Eva Songue13, Natacha Nsiewe Tchoubou4, Anita Ntambo5, Huguette Ngo Hiol1, Jacques Pokam Kemajou6, Marie-José Essi5 and Pascal Millet3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology, Hematology, Parasitology & Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, Yaoundé, Cameroon

2 Institute of Medical Research and Medicinal Plants Studies (IMPM), Yaoundé, Cameroon

3 University of Bordeaux 2, Victor Ségalen, 146 rue Leo Saignat, 33076, Bordeaux, France

4 East Regional Hospital, Bertoua, Cameroon

5 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, Yaoundé, Cameroon

6 National Institute of Cartography, Yaoundé, Cameroon

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:1023  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-1023

Published: 29 October 2013

Abstract

Background

Malaria is ranked as the major public health problem in Cameroon, representing 50% of illness in less than five year old children, 40-45% of medical consultation and 40% of the annual home income spent on health. The Cameroon Oil Transportation Company (COTCO) that exploits the Chad-Cameroon pipeline in Cameroon territory, initiated in 2010, a public private partnership project to control malaria along the pipeline corridor. A research component was included in the project so as to guide and evaluate the control measures applied in this pipeline corridor. This study presents the baseline socio-anthropological data as well as the knowledge, attitudes and practices of the local population concerning malaria, its transmission, management and prevention.

Methods

A descriptive cross-sectional survey was undertaken in four sentinel sites (one site per ecological zone) along the Chad-Cameroon pipeline corridor. Three structured questionnaires were used for the survey. Two of them were addressed to the heads of households (one for census and the other to collect information concerning the characteristics of houses and living conditions in households as well as their knowledge, attitudes and practices concerning malaria). The last questionnaire was used to collect information on malaria management and prevention. It was addressed to women who had delivered a living child within the past three years. Interviewers were recruited from each village and trained for two consecutive days on how to fill the different questionnaires. All data were analysed at 5% significant level using Epi-Info, SPSS and Cs PRO 4.0 STATA. Values of p ≤ 0.05 were considered statistically significant.

Results

Interviews were conducted in 2597 households (Bipindi 399, Bélabo 835, in Meidougou 820 and Dompta 543). Whatever the study site, 50% of the heads of household were workers of the agro-pastoral sector. Most of the heads of household were men (average 77.4% for men and 22.6% for females). The walls of households were mostly made-up of earth blocks and access to media was low. There were significant differences between mean ages and educational level of the heads of household. Significant differences were also observed between the characteristics of houses and the sites located in the southern regions (Bipindi and Bélabo) and those located in the northern regions (Meidougou and Dompta). The later household heads were younger and less educated than those in the other regions.

In most of the study sites, paracetamol was cited as the first intention drug for malaria treatment, followed by chloroquine, a banned drug. More than half of the households studied had a correct knowledge of malaria and its mode of transmission: 120/155 (77.1%) in Bipindi, 244/323 (74.5%) in Bélabo, 171/235 (72.8%) in Meidougou and 118/218 (54.1%) in Dompta. Fever and headache were the malaria signs/symptoms most often cited by the households. An important percentage of pregnant women did not take any malaria prophylaxis during their last pregnancy (up to 43.4% in Bélabo).

Conclusion

In all the study sites, there were conditions that indicated the all year round transmission of malaria (characteristics of houses and limited access to media making sensitization campaigns difficult). In general, most households had a good knowledge of malaria and its mode of transmission. However, malaria treatment drugs were most often inappropriate. In this study, recommendations were made in order to guide the implementation of control measures.

Keywords:
Malaria; Chad-Cameroon pipeline; Knowledge; Attitudes and practices concerning malaria