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Open Access Short Report

Promoting community knowledge and action for malaria control in rural Cambodia: potential contributions of Village Malaria Workers

Sachiko Lim1, Junko Yasuoka1*, Krishna C Poudel1, Po Ly2, Chea Nguon2 and Masamine Jimba1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Community and Global Health, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-0033, Japan

2 The National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, 372 Monivong Boulevard, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:405  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-405

Published: 3 August 2012

Abstract

Background

Cambodia has been investing in Village Malaria Workers (VMWs) to improve malaria case management in rural areas. This study assessed the quality of the VMWs’ services compared to those by a government-run health center from the perspective of community members. We focused on VMWs’ contribution to promote their action to control malaria. A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in Kampot province in 2009. Interviews were conducted at every accessible household in a village with VMWs (n = 153) and a village with a health center (n = 159), using interviewer administered questionnaire. Preference of the interview was given to female household head. Multiple regression analyses were run to compare knowledge about malaria, preventive measures taken, and time before first malaria treatment between the two villages.

Findings

The villagers perceived the VMWs’ services equally as good as those provided by the health center. After controlling for confounding factors, the following indicators did not show any statistical significance between two villages: community members’ knowledge about malaria transmission (AOR = 0.60, 95% CI = 0.30-1.22) and government-recommended antimalarial (AOR = 0.55, 95% CI = 0.25-1.23), preventive measures taken (Beta = −0.191, p = 0.315), and time before the first treatment (Beta = 0.053, p = 0.721). However, knowledge about malaria symptoms was significantly lower in the village with VMWs than the village with a health center (AOR = 0.40, 95% CI = 0.19-0.83).

Conclusions

VMWs played an equivalent role as the health center in promoting malaria knowledge, action, and effective case management. Although VMWs need to enhance community knowledge about malaria symptoms, the current government policy on VMWs is reasonable and should be expanded to other malaria endemic villages.

Keywords:
Malaria; Village Malaria Workers; Treatment-seeking behavior; Knowledge; Preventive measures; Symptoms; Antimalarial drug; Community; Cambodia; Public health