Determinants of prompt and adequate care among presumed malaria cases in a community in eastern Rwanda: a cross sectional study

Chantal Marie Ingabire*, Fredrick Kateera, Emmanuel Hakizimana, Alexis Rulisa, Claude Muvunyi, Petra Mens, Constantianus J. M. Koenraadt, Leon Mutesa, Michele Van Vugt, Hubertus van den Borne, Jane Alaii

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: In order to understand factors influencing fever/malaria management practices among community-based individuals, the study evaluated psychosocial, socio-demographic and environmental determinants of prompt and adequate healthcare-seeking behaviours. Methods: A quantitative household (HH) survey was conducted from December 2014 to February 2015 in Ruhuha sector, Bugesera district in the Eastern province of Rwanda. HHs that reported having had at least one member who experienced a fever and/or malaria episode in the previous 3 months prior to the study were included in the analysis. Healthcare-seeking behaviours associated with the last episode of illness were analysed. Socio-demographic, health facility access, long-lasting insecticidal-treated nets (LLINs), data on malaria knowledge, data and theory of planned behaviour (TPB) related variables (attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control) with regard to fever/malaria healthcare seeking, were collected. The primary outcome was prompt and adequate care defined as: (1) seeking advice or treatment at a health facility (health centre or hospital) or from a community health worker (CHW); (2) advice or treatment seeking within same/next day of symptoms onset; (3) received a laboratory diagnosis; (4) received advice or treatment; and, (5) reported completing the prescribed dose of medication. Determinants of prompt and adequate care among presumed malaria cases were evaluated using a logistic regression analysis. Results: Overall, 302 (21 %) of the 1410 interviewed HHs reported at least one member as having experienced a fever or malaria within the 3 months prior to the survey. The number of HHs (where at least one member reported fever/malaria) that reported seeking advice or treatment at a health facility (health centre or hospital) or from a CHW was 249 (82.4 %). Of those who sought advice or treatment, 87.3 % had done so on same/next day of symptoms developing, 82.8 % received a laboratory diagnosis, and more than 90 % who received treatment reported completing the prescribed dosage. Prompt and adequate care was reported from 162 of the 302 HHs (53.6 %) that experienced fever or malaria for one or more HH members. Bivariate analyses showed that head of household (HoH)-related characteristics including reported knowledge of three or more malaria symptoms, having health insurance, being able to pay for medical services, use of LLINs the night before the survey, having a positive attitude, perceiving social support, as well as a high-perceived behavioural control with regard to healthcare seeking, were all significantly associated with prompt and adequate care. In the final logistic regression model, a high-perceived behavioural control (odds ratio (OR) 5.068, p = 0.042), having a health insurance (OR 2.410, p = 0.044) and having knowledge of malaria symptoms (OR 1.654, p = 0.049) significantly predicted prompt and adequate care. Conclusions: To promote prompt and adequate care seeking for malaria in the area, particular emphasis should be placed on community-focused strategies that promote early malaria symptom recognition, increased health insurance coverage and enhanced perceived behavioural control with regard to healthcare-seeking.
Original languageEnglish
Article number227
JournalMalaria Journal
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2016


  • Malaria symptoms
  • Healthcare seeking
  • Community
  • Health insurance
  • Theory of planned behaviour
  • Rwanda

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