''Communication interventions and their role in malaria prevention and prevalence: A case study of Kaole''
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In 2007, 4.3 million cases of malaria (confirmed and unconfirmed) were reported by the Ministry of Health countrywide with 6,149 deaths. The annual malaria incidence was estimated at 358 cases per 1,000 population in 2007, a drop from 412 cases per 1,000 population in 2006, (Zambia Health Demographic survey 2010). The tow on the country’s resources that the disease continues to have has led to a drain on both human resource as well as health resources. Malaria has therefore been recognised as a major cause of poverty and poverty exacerbates the malaria situation (UNICEF, 2000:1). The recognition that the fight to reduce on such statistics also falls on the communities affected has resulted in communication campaigns and interventions seeking to educate the masses on prevention measures. This report is an attempt to investigating the role that communication campaigns and interventions play in malaria prevention and prevalence.Malaria prevention efforts have so far been based on the provision of malaria prevention medication and educating the people on how to use prevention implements such as mosquito nets as well as what they should do for effective treatment.However, trends have shown that even where such implements and communication campaigns have been disbursed, malaria incidence has not reduced to levels envisioned by country and international projection such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).The study sought to investigate the role that communication campaigns and interventions play in the malaria prevention and prevalence in Kaole Ward of Mansa.Results from the study revealed that people of the sampled Chitakwa, and Kabwesha Villages, Spark Compound, and Zambia Compound and Farm Institute are aware of the malaria prevention measures and the importance of use of prevention implements such as mosquito nets, Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), Intermittent Preventive Treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) and environmental management but do not use them as required. The study revealed a high discrepancy between mosquito net ownership and usage as well as consistency in usage calling into attention the need to change people’s behaviour. It also revealed gaps in information which has also contributed to misconceptions and perpetuation of locally held myths and beliefs while positive indicators were seen in treatment seeking behaviour and Ante natal attendance facilitating the receiving of Intermittent Preventive Treatment in pregnancy (IPTp). It was revealed that whiles awareness levels were high, they did not correspond to changes in behaviour which could interpret into adoption and adherence to the messages in the communication campaigns. This was achieved using a triangulated research design approach utilising research instruments on both qualitative and quantitative methods from a randomly sampled 151 households in Kaole Ward of Mansa.