Uptake of prevention and control measures of plague: a post-plague outbreaks case-study of Sinda District,Zambia

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Sinyangwe, Musenga Lottie
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The University of Zambia
Zambia’s recent plague outbreaks in 2001 and 2007 were of great public health concern because of the potential to cause devastating social, environmental and economic effects in the country. Plague is a virulent vector-borne zoonotic disease caused by Yersinia pestis and has potential to infect humans and cause fatalities in 50 to 100 percent of cases if left untreated. The disease is known to have had reduced the world population in the 14th century from an estimated 450 million down to near 350 million. Consequently, plague remains a global public health threat. As an active plague foci, Sinda District remains under alert for subsequent outbreaks. Effective efforts on prevention and control of plague requires targeted approaches designed on the basis of adequate information on determinants of the uptake of plague prevention and control measures (PCM). This study, therefore, was conducted on the premise of understanding factors that determine uptake of PCM. The study involved a cross-sectional survey design where two villages (Nyanje and Nsato) where purposively selected before the selection of 178 households using multistage sampling. From each household, a respondent (head of household or knowledgeable elderly person) was interviewed. Additionally, two key informants’ interviews and one focus group discussion supplemented information. The significance of explanatory variables influencing the uptake of PCM was determined using multiple logistic regression analysis in Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) with statistical significance set at P≤ 0.05. The study population comprised mainly of female (61 percent). Majority (52 percent) are indigenous to the study area. With only 43 percent having attained only primary education, most of the study participants depend on faming and trading (43 and 50 percent respectively) for their livelihoods. Multiple logistic regression showed significant associations between literacy; sources of livelihoods; knowledge and perceptions (about plague and measures); source of information about plague outbreaks and the uptake of PCM. Participants who attained at least primary level of education are 79 percent likely to take up PCM than those who have never been to school. It is further established that farming as a source of income reduces odds of taking up PCM by 1 percent compared to 84 percent likelihood of taking up PCM when trading is a source of income. The odds of taking up PCM are positive with knowledge about plague and radio as source of information about outbreaks. However, demographic characteristics are not associated with uptake of PCM. The study has established that socio-economic factors such as education, source of livelihoods, source of information and perceptions about plague outbreaks are key determinants of the uptake of PCM. This in particular recommends design of strategies that will cogitate the significant effect of these key determinants.
Plague--Prevention--Zambia , Rats--Control--Zambia