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Research Article

Vol. 6 No. 1 (2001)

Knowledge, Treatment-Seeking, and Socioeconomic Impact of Malaria on the Essequibo Coast of Guyana

  • Christopher Booth
  • J. Dick MacLean
November 15, 2020


The study was conducted to provide insight into malaria control efforts in Guyana, and to identify areas to emphasize in future educational campaigns. To do this, a community-based survey of knowledge, treatment-seeking patterns, and socio-economic impact of malaria was conducted at four outdoor markets in Region 2 Guyana. One hundred and eight individuals between the ages of 16 and 65 who had a malaria infection in the previous twelve months were interviewed. Within the study population, 94% identified mosquitoes as being the source of malaria infection. More than 70% of respondents identified fever, headache and chills as symptoms of malaria. Sixty percent of individuals incorrectly believed that women could not be treated with antimalarials when pregnant or they risked spontaneous abortion or congenital defects. Most individuals (76%) used bed nets although very few nets were chemically treated. Mean delay in presentation to a health clinic was 6.3 days. Use of the official health care sector was high (96%) and relatively few individuals (15%) self-treated with antimalarials. Compliance with antimalarial regimens was also found to be relatively good (92%). Cost of treatment was significantly higher among those who used private clinics (US$ 13.74) than those who used public clinics (US$ 0.96) (p < 0.001). The good level of knowledge of malaria may be due to the relatively high literacy rate and level of education in Guyana. The fact that public clinics in Guyana provide treatment and antimalarials at no cost may explain the relatively high use of the official health sector, low levels of self-treatment, and good compliance.


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