Adherence of community caretakers of children to pre-packaged antimalarial medicines (HOMAPAK) among internally displaced people in Gulu district, Uganda.

Kolaczinski, Jan H; Ojok, Naptalis; Opwonya, John; Meek, Sylvia; Collins, Andrew; (2006) Adherence of community caretakers of children to pre-packaged antimalarial medicines (HOMAPAK) among internally displaced people in Gulu district, Uganda. Malaria journal, 5. p. 40. ISSN 1475-2875

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In 2002, home-based management of fever (HBMF) was introduced in Uganda, to improve access to prompt, effective antimalarial treatment of all fevers in children under 5 years. Implementation is through community drug distributors (CDDs) who distribute pre-packaged chloroquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (HOMAPAK) free of charge to caretakers of febrile children. Adherence of caretakers to this regimen has not been studied. A questionnaire-based survey combined with inspection of blister packaging was conducted to investigate caretakers' adherence to HOMAPAK. The population surveyed consisted of internally displaced people (IDPs) from eight camps. A total of 241 caretakers were interviewed. 95.0% (CI: 93.3% - 98.4%) of their children had received the correct dose for their age and 52.3% of caretakers had retained the blister pack. Assuming correct self-reporting, the overall adherence was 96.3% (CI: 93.9% - 98.7%). The nine caretakers who had not adhered had done so because the child had improved, had vomited, did not like the taste of the tablets, or because they forgot to administer the treatment. For 85.5% of cases treatment had been sought within 24 hours. Blister packaging was considered useful by virtually all respondents, mainly because it kept the drugs clean and dry. Information provided on, and inside, the package was of limited use, because most respondents were illiterate. However, CDDs had often told caretakers how to administer the treatment. For 39.4% of respondents consultation with the CDD was their reported first action when their child has fever and 52.7% stated that they consult her/him if the child does not get better. In IDP camps, the HBMF strategy forms an important component of medical care for young children. In case of febrile illness, most caretakers obtain prompt and adequate antimalarial treatment, and adhere to it. A large proportion of malaria episodes are thus likely to be treated before complications can arise. Implementation in the IDP camps now needs to focus on improving monitoring, supervision and general support to CDDs, as well as on targeting them and caretakers with educational messages. The national treatment policy for uncomplicated malaria has recently been changed to artemether-lumefantrine. Discussions on a suitable replacement combination for HBMF are well advanced, and have raised new questions about adherence.

Item Type: Article
PubMed ID: 16700903


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