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The role of voluntary village aides in the control of malaria by presumptive treatment of fever. 2. Impact on village health



The role of voluntary village aides in the control of malaria by presumptive treatment of fever. 2. Impact on village health



Papua and New Guinea Medical Journal 28(4): 267-278



A village-based programme of presumptive treatment of fever, using voluntary village aides to dispense oral chloroquine or amodiaquine, was established in 1982 by the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research (PNG IMR) in 35 rural villages or hamlets near Madang, on the north coast of PNG. In the course of the following two years, village aides became an established health resource in many of those villages, although in others they were poorly utilized. In attempting to evaluate the impact of the programme on village health, a number of parameters were investigated. These included malaria-related mortality and morbidity, and the prevalence of parasitaemia and splenic enlargement in children in the study area. Deaths attributable to malaria, which accounted for 11% of deaths in the under-10 year age-group, and cerebral malaria cases were too few to be useful as parameters to evaluate the programme. No reduction in spleen or parasite rates occurred in children as a result of the village aide programme. In two villages, there was an unexplained increase in spleen rate following the introduction of a village aide. A study of malaria-related morbidity, by investigation of all fever cases occurring in a two-week recall period, was conducted in mid-1984. House-to-house interviews were carried out in 19 villages; 9 control villages, where there was no village aide, 6 where the village aide was well utilized, and 4 where the village aide was poorly utilized. The study showed that village aides had a measurable impact on morbidity due to fever in villages where they were well utilized, primarily by reducing the duration of fever through early treatment. The results also suggested that children benefitted even in the villages where the overall utilization of village aides was low. It is felt that such a programme whould have had an even greater impact in areas where access to existing health services is more difficult than in the study area.

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