Research Highlights

Who knows best about malaria?

Subhra Priyadarshini

doi:10.1038/nindia.2007.20 Published online 30 September 2007

Men and educated people have better knowledge of the malarial scourge in India than women and less educated people, a cross-country study has concluded1.

The survey questioning over 15,000 people in urban, rural, tribal and slum areas across 21 states of the country found that women and tribal populations were more likely to be associated with wrong beliefs about fatality of malaria. The least knowledgeable about the disease were the tribal people surveyed. People in the north, east and central parts of the country were found to have better knowledge about the basics of malaria as compared to south, west and northeast regions.

Geographical variations also influenced knowledge about malaria. Improvement in knowledge, attitude and practices related to malaria may be attained only after looking at its predictors at micro level. The researchers say a strategic national framework is urgently needed to provide direction to the anti-malaria programmes at local level.

The National Health Policy (2002) has set the goals of reduction in mortality on account of malaria by 50% by 2010 and efficient control of morbidity. Reduction of malarial morbidity and mortality is also important to meet the overall objectives of reducing poverty and has been included in the Millennium Development Goals. "To achieve these targets it is imperative to have active community participation to control malaria. Community participation in turn depends on people's knowledge and attitude towards the disease," says Arun Kumar Sharma, the lead researcher.


References

  1. Sharma, A. K.et al. Predictors of knowledge about malaria in India. J. Vect. Borne Dis. 44, 189-197 (2007).