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Treatment of uncomplicated malaria at public health facilities and medicine retailers in southeastern Nigeria


Malaria Journal

Category: Publications

Author: Lindsay J Mangham, Bonnie Cundill, Ogochukwu Ezeoke, Emmanuel Nwala, Benjamin SC Uzochukwu, Virginia Wiseman and Obinna Onwujekwe

Published Date: 08 June 2011



At primary care facilities in Nigeria, national treatment guidelines state that malaria should be symptomatically diagnosed and treated with artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT). Evidence from households and health care providers indicates that many patients do not receive the recommended treatment. This study sought to determine the extent of the problem by collecting data as patients and caregivers leave health facilities, and determine what influences the treatment received.


A cross-sectional cluster survey of 2,039 respondents exiting public health centres, pharmacies and patent medicine dealers was undertaken in urban and rural settings in Enugu State, south-eastern Nigeria. Results: Although 79% of febrile patients received an anti-malarial, only 23% received an ACT. Many patients (38%) received sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP). A further 13% of patients received an artemisinin-derivative as a monotherapy. An estimated 66% of ACT dispensed was in the correct dose. The odds of a patient receiving an ACT was highly associated with consumer demand (OR: 55.5, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Few febrile patients attending public health facilities, pharmacies and patent medicine dealers received an ACT, and the use of artemisinin-monotherapy and less effective anti-malarials is concerning. The results emphasize the importance of addressing both demand and supply-side influences on malaria treatment and the need for interventions that target consumer preferences as well as seek to improve health service provision.


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