Treatment-seeking behavior and practices among caregivers of children aged ≤5 y with presumed malaria in rural Uganda

Background: We aimed to determine the rate of herbal medicine usage and the treatment-seeking patterns of children aged ≤5 y with presumed or confirmed malaria in an endemic area of Uganda. Methods: We interviewed guardians of 722 children aged 6 months to 5 y, who had experienced an episode of presumed malaria in the previous 3 months, about the illness history. Results: Overall, 36.1% of patients took herbal medicines but most also sought modern medical care; 79.2% received Artemether Lumefantrine (AL), but only 42.7% received the correct AL dose. Of the 36.6% of patients treated in drug shops, 9.8% had a diagnostic test and 30.2% received the correct dose of AL. Antibiotics were frequently provided with AL at drug shops (62%) and formal health centers (45%). There were no significant differences in the self-reported outcomes associated with different treatments. Conclusion: Almost all of the patients who took herbal medicine also took modern antimalarials, so further research is needed to explore potential interactions between them. Although formal health facilities provided the correct diagnosis and dose of AL to a majority of children with malaria, many children still received inappropriate antibiotics. Quality of care was worse in drug shops than in formal health facilities.
Artemisinins, Guideline adherence, Healthcare-seeking behavior, Herbal medicine, Malaria, Uganda
Lee, Y. J., Adusumilli, G., Kazungu, R., Anywar, G., Kyakulaga, F., Katuura, E., ... & Willcox, M. (2019). Treatment-seeking behavior and practices among caregivers of children aged≤ 5 y with presumed malaria in rural Uganda. Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 113(9), 525-533.doi:10.1093/trstmh/trz039