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Tessenderlo, Belgium

Grietens K.P.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Xuan X.N.,National Institute for Malariology | Ribera J.M.,PASS International | Duc T.N.,National Institute for Malariology | And 7 more authors.

Background: Long-lasting insecticidal hammocks (LLIHs) are being evaluated as an additional malaria prevention tool in settings where standard control strategies have a limited impact. This is the case among the Ra-glai ethnic minority communities of Ninh Thuan, one of the forested and mountainous provinces of Central Vietnam where malaria morbidity persist due to the sylvatic nature of the main malaria vector An. dirus and the dependence of the population on the forest for subsistence - as is the case for many impoverished ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia. Methods: A social science study was carried out ancillary to a community-based cluster randomized trial on the effectiveness of LLIHs to control forest malaria. The social science research strategy consisted of a mixed methods study triangulating qualitative data from focused ethnography and quantitative data collected during a malariometric cross-sectional survey on a random sample of 2,045 study participants. Results: To meet work requirements during the labor intensive malaria transmission and rainy season, Ra-glai slash and burn farmers combine living in government supported villages along the road with a second home at their fields located in the forest. LLIH use was evaluated in both locations. During daytime, LLIH use at village level was reported by 69.3% of all respondents, and in forest fields this was 73.2%. In the evening, 54.1% used the LLIHs in the villages, while at the fields this was 20.7%. At night, LLIH use was minimal, regardless of the location (village 4.4%; forest 6.4%). Discussion: Despite the free distribution of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and LLIHs, around half the local population remains largely unprotected when sleeping in their forest plot huts. In order to tackle forest malaria more effectively, control policies should explicitly target forest fields where ethnic minority farmers are more vulnerable to malaria. © 2012 Peeters Grietens et al. Source

Peeters Grietens K.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Xuan X.N.,National Institute for Malariology | Van Bortel W.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Duc T.N.,National Institute for Malariology | And 6 more authors.
Malaria Journal

Background. Despite Vietnam's success in reducing malaria mortality and morbidity over the last decade, malaria persists in the forested and mountainous areas of the central and southern provinces, where more than 50% of the clinical cases and 90% of severe cases and malaria deaths occur. Methods. Between July 2005 and September 2006, a multi-method study, triangulating a malariometric cross-sectional survey and qualitative data from focused ethnography, was carried out among the Ra-glai ethnic minority in the hilly forested areas of south-central Vietnam. Results. Despite the relatively high malaria burden among the Ra-glai and their general awareness that mosquitoes can transmit an unspecific kind of fever (84.2%), the use of bed nets, distributed free of charge by the national malaria control programme, remains low at the farmers' forest fields where the malaria risk is the highest. However, to meet work requirements during the labour intensive malaria transmission and rainy season, Ra-glai farmers combine living in government supported villages along the road with a second home or shelter at their slash and burn fields located in the forest. Bed net use was 84.6% in the villages but only 52.9% at the forest fields; 20.6% of the respondents slept unprotected in both places. Such low use may be explained by the low perception of the risk for malaria, decreasing the perceived need to sleep protected. Several reasons may account for this: (1) only 15.6% acknowledged the higher risk of contracting malaria in the forest than in the village; (2) perceived mosquito biting times only partially coincided with Anopheles dirus ss and Anopheles minimus A true biting times; (3) the disease locally identified as 'malaria' was hardly perceived as having an impact on forest farmers' daily lives as they were unaware of the specific kind of fevers from which they had suffered even after being diagnosed with malaria at the health centre (20.9%). Conclusions. The progressive confinement of malaria to minority groups and settings in the Greater Mekong sub-region implies that further success in malaria control will be linked to research into these specific socio-cultural contexts. Findings highlight the need for context sensitive malaria control policies; not only to reduce the local malaria burden but also to minimize the risk of malaria spreading to other areas where transmission has virtually ceased. © 2010 Peeters Grietens et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Peeters Grietens K.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Toomer E.,PASS International | Um Boock A.,Aide aux Lepreux Emmaus Suisse | Hausmann-Muela S.,PASS International | And 5 more authors.

Background: Victims of Buruli ulcer disease (BUD) frequently report to specialized units at a late stage of the disease. This delay has been associated with local beliefs and a preference for traditional healing linked to a reportedly mystical origin of the disease. We assessed the role beliefs play in determining BUD sufferers' choice between traditional and biomedical treatments. Methods: Anthropological fieldwork was conducted in community and clinical settings in the region of Ayos and Akonolinga in Central Cameroon. The research design consisted of a mixed methods study, triangulating a qualitative strand based on ethnographic research and quantitative data obtained through a survey presented to all patients at the Ayos and Akonolinga hospitals (N = 79) at the time of study and in four endemic communities (N = 73) belonging to the hospitals' catchment area. Results: The analysis of BUD sufferers' health-seeking behaviour showed extremely complex therapeutic itineraries, including various attempts and failures both in the biomedical and traditional fields. Contrary to expectations, nearly half of all hospital patients attributed their illness to mystical causes, while traditional healers admitted patients they perceived to be infected by natural causes. Moreover, both patients in hospitals and in communities often combined elements of both types of treatments. Ultimately, perceptions regarding the effectiveness of the treatment, the option for local treatment as a cost prevention strategy and the characteristics of the doctor-patient relationship were more determinant for treatment choice than beliefs. Discussion: The ascription of delay and treatment choice to beliefs constitutes an over-simplification of BUD health-seeking behaviour and places the responsibility directly on the shoulders of BUD sufferers while potentially neglecting other structural elements. While more efficacious treatment in the biomedical sector is likely to reduce perceived mystical involvement in the disease, additional decentralization could constitute a key element to reduce delay and increase adherence to biomedical treatment. © 2012 Peeters Grietens et al. Source

Grietens K.P.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Gies S.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Coulibaly S.O.,University of Ouagadougou | Coulibaly S.O.,Laboratoire National Of Sante Publique | And 5 more authors.

Background: While IPTp-SP is currently being scaled up in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the coverage with the required ≥2 doses of SP remains considerably short of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) goal of 80%, not to mention of the recently advocated universal coverage. Methods: The study triangulates quantitative data from a health center randomized community-based trial on IPTp-SP effectiveness and the additional benefit of a promotional campaign with qualitative data from focused ethnography. Findings: In rural Burkina Faso, despite the significantly higher risk of malaria infection among adolescent primigravidae (PG) (OR 2.44 95%CI 1.81-3.28, p<0.001), making them primary target beneficiaries of IPTp-SP, adolescents adhered to the required three or more ANC visits significantly less (PG: 46.6%; SG 43.7%) than adults (PG: 61.9%; SG 54.9%) and had lower SP uptake during the malaria transmission season, further showing the difficulty of reaching this age group. Adolescents' structural constraints (such as their social position and household labor requirements) and needs (such as anonymity in the health encounter) leave them highly vulnerable during their pregnancies and, especially, during the high malaria transmission season. Conclusion: Our study shows that adolescents need to be targeted specifically, prior to their first pregnancy and with measures adapted to their social context, addressing their structural constraints and needs and going beyond standard health promotion campaigns. Unless such specific measures are taken, adolescents' social vulnerability will present a serious bottleneck for the effectiveness of IPTi-SP. Source

Grietens K.P.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Soto V.,Cayetano Heredia Peruvian University | Erhart A.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Ribera J.M.,PASS International | And 7 more authors.
American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Despite being free of charge, treatment adherence to 7-day primaquine for the radical cure of Plasmodium vivax was estimated at 62.2% among patients along the Iquitos-Nauta road in the Peruvian Amazon. The principal reason for non-adherence was the perceived adverse effects related to local humoral illness conceptions that hold that malaria produces a hot state of body, which is further aggravated by the characteristically hot medical treatment. Notably, patients were willing to adhere to the first 3 days of treatment during which symptoms are most apparent and include the characteristic chills. Nevertheless, as symptoms abate, the perceived aggravating characteristics of the medication outweigh the perceived advantages of treatment adherence. Improving community awareness about the role of primaquine to prevent further malaria transmission and fostering a realistic system of direct observed treatment intake, organized at community level, can be expected to improve adherence to the radical cure of P. vivax in this area. Copyright © 2010 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Source

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