Cambodia is host to a new tool used to assess the treatment-seeking behavior of malaria patients and how their use of anti-malarial medicine may affect the spread of drug-resistant malaria.
The results of the October 2002 Rational Pharmaceutical Management Plus Community Drug Management Assessment were released last week at a workshop organized by the National Malaria Center, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the European Union and the US Agency for International Development.
The survey of the community drug use practices of 5,060 families from Pursat, Battambang, Pailin and Preah Vihear provinces found that 44 percent of malaria patients receive effective diagnosis and treatment in public health centers, while only 2 percent of those going to private clinics are privy to such treatment.
WHO malaria control officer Dr Reiko Tsuyuoka said drug use behavior could be improved by raising awareness in the public and private sectors—but that could take awhile, since the government has not yet prioritized educating the more frequently used private medical facilities.
Results of an EU study on the health beliefs and treatment-seeking behavior for malaria in Tampuon and Jarai communities in Ratanakkiri province also were released.
The two-month 2002 survey found that approximately 31 percent of men and 60 percent of women did not know the cause of malaria. About 10 percent of the subjects reported that only mosquitoes cause malaria. Others attributed the disease to bad hygiene. Sixty-seven percent of participants said malaria could not be prevented and 14 percent said they did not know whether they could avoid contracting the disease.