Parents' perceptions, attitudes and acceptability of treatment of childhood malaria with artemisinin combination therapies in ghana

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G O Adjei, A K Darkwah, B Q Goka, C Bart-Plange, M L Alifrangis, J A L Kurtzhals, O P Rodrigues

BACKGROUND: There is little information on sociocultural and contextual factors that may influence attitudes of patients to new treatments, such as artemisinin combination therapies (ACT). METHODS: Semi-structured questionnaires and focus group discussions were used to assess views of parents of children with uncomplicated malaria treated with ACT in a low socio-economic area in Accra, Ghana. RESULTS: The majority of parents reported a favourable experience, in terms of perceived i) rapidity of symptom resolution, compared to their previous experience of other therapies for childhood malaria, or ii) when their experience was compared that of parents of children treated with monotherapy. The parents of children treated with ACT were more willing to pay for the treatment, or adhere to the full treatment course. The explanations given for adherence were consistent with conventional biomedical explanations. Although care-seeking practices for childhood malaria were considered appropriate, perceived or real barriers to accessible health care were also important factors in the decision to seek treatment. Household dynamics and perceived inequities at the care-provider-patient interface were identified as having potential negative impact on care-seeking practices and adherence. CONCLUSIONS: Health education messages aimed at improving the response to childhood febrile illness should include other strategic stakeholders, such as decision-makers at the household level. The effectiveness and implementation success of the ACT policy could be enhanced by highlighting and reinforcing messages intrinsic to these regimens. Integrating the views of caretakers during the clinical encounter was validated as an empowerment tool that could aid in the appropriate responses to childhood illness.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGhana Medical Journal
Volume43
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)99-106
Number of pages7
ISSN0016-9560
Publication statusPublished - 2009

ID: 17496441