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Knowledge, attitude and practice towards malaria in rural communities of the epidemic-prone Thar Desert, northwestern India

Knowledge, attitude and practice towards malaria in rural communities of the epidemic-prone Thar Desert, northwestern India

Journal of Communicable Diseases 31(2): 127-136

In order to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of the rural Thar Desert population about malaria and its vectors, a total of 345 heads of households, including housewives, suffering with malaria were surveyed randomly, along with the same number of healthy control subjects, in four villages of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer districts of Rajasthan, north-western India. Results showed that in the traditionally hypoendemic Thar Desert, with low levels of immunity against malaria particularly Plasmodium falciparum, a large segment of rural people were equally less aware about the dangers of the disease. About three-fourths of the studied population did not quite comprehend the purpose of the five decade-old National Anti Malaria Programme, while nearly 50% respondents were reluctant to accept the programme lacking the component of community participation but directly targetting on the control of the disease. Consequently, about 50% malaria patients and 60% healthy subjects lacked in taking initiative to resort to any anti-mosquito or anti-malaria measure to protect themselves, although 27% malaria patients and 2.9% healthy subjects acknowledge correct causes of malaria. This study, being the first of its kind in a desert community currently facing emergence of P. falciparum-dominated malaria outbreaks, is a testimony to the hitherto prevalent deep gaps in knowledge about the disease, and its results warrant sincere efforts to link up the malaria control programme with the community participation for protection against this scourage in future.

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Accession: 046508602

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PMID: 10810601

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