Knowledge of malaria control and attitudes towards community involvement among female community volunteers: effect of capacity building in a rural community, Southeast Nigeria
Agu, A.P.; Umeokonkwo, C.D.; Eze, N.C.; Akpa, C.O.; Nnabu, R.C.; Akamike, I.C.; Okedo-Alex, I.N.; Alo, C.; Uneke, J.C.
Pan African Medical Journal 39: 151
Community volunteers have limited skills but are an important link between the community and health facilities. We determined the effect of a capacity building intervention on knowledge of malaria control and attitudes towards community involvement among female community volunteers as part of a larger community-based intervention study on pregnant women and children under five. we conducted a before and after intervention study (no randomization or controls) among female community volunteers in Amagu community in Abakaliki Local Government Area. The intervention consisted of training sessions on knowledge of malaria and its control. The training took the form of lectures, role plays and practical demonstrations. Supportive supervision by trained community health extension workers was also provided during their field work. We compared pre-training test and post-training test scores after six months interval and analysed the data using paired t test at 5% level of significance with EPI INFO software version 7.2.3. the mean age of the participants was 28.5(± 6.0) years. All had a minimum level of secondary education. There was significant improvement in the mean scores of their knowledge of malaria signs and symptoms (p < 0.001), preventive measures (p < 0.001) and appropriate drug treatment (p < 0.001) in the post-training test when compared with the pre-training test. The overall mean knowledge scores pre and posttest were 147.8 and 169.8 respectively (p < 0.001) out of a maximum achievable score of 195. Also there was significant improvement in the perception of the participants on community involvement in promoting referral of pregnant women with fever (p = 0.001), the use of intermittent preventive therapy with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (p = 0.048) and funding initiatives to sustain activities (p = 0.037). capacity building of female community volunteers coupled with supportive supervision by trained community health workers improved the female community volunteers´ knowledge of malaria, its control and their perception of community involvement in control activities. It is recommended that the use of community volunteers as a low cost health resource can be explored further for incorporation into existing policies on malaria control in resource constrained environments.