Bulletin of the World Health Organization
versão impressa ISSN 0042-9686
DIALLO, Amadou Baïlo et al. Home care of malaria-infected children of less than 5 years of age in a rural area of the Republic of Guinea. Bull World Health Organ [online]. 2001, vol.79, n.1, pp. 28-32. ISSN 0042-9686. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0042-96862001000100007.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the ability of mothers in a rural area of the Republic of Guinea to identify fever in their children, and to estimate the proportion of children who received antimalarial drugs. METHODS: Children under 5 years of age in 41 villages were selected by a two-step cluster sampling technique. During home visits we examined the children and questioned their mothers about the childs symptoms and treatment. FINDINGS: Of 784 children examined, 23% were febrile and more than half of them also had a positive smear result for Plasmodium. Mothers reported 63% of children with a temperature > 37.5ºC as sick. Among all children reported as feverish by their mother, 55% had a normal temperature (<37.5ºC). In contrast, a temperature > 37.5ºC was found in 38% of children identified as sick but afebrile by their mother and in 13% of children considered healthy. Among febrile children, 18% were given chloroquine at home or had consulted at the health centre or a dispensary. CONCLUSION: In areas where malaria is endemic, recognition of fever and its presumptive treatment with antimalarial drugs is an essential part of the strategy of the World Health Organization (WHO) to reduce the morbidity due to this disease. This population study shows that mothers often failed to identify fever in their children and to consult or to provide antimalarial treatment. Without great efforts to improve home care, it is unlikely that the morbidity and mortality due to malaria in young children will be greatly reduced.
Palavras-chave : malaria [diagnosis]; malaria [drug therapy]; child, preschool; home nursing; maternal behavior; chloroquine [therapeutic use]; rural population; sampling studies; Guinea.