Print version ISSN 0120-4157
ALVARADO, Beatriz Eugenia et al. Evaluation of an educational strategy on malaria in rural areas of the Colombian Pacific coast. Biomédica [online]. 2006, vol.26, n.3, pp. 342-352. ISSN 0120-4157.
Introduction. Health education interventions have proved effective in improving knowledge, preventing practices and decreasing occurrence of malaria. Objective. To evaluate the impact of the educational intervention "The World of Malaria: Lets Learn to Manage it in Community" developed in Colombian malarial areas, in terms of increasing knowledge, preventive practices, treatment-seeking, and decreasing malaria occurrence. Materials and methods. A quasi-experimental post-test study with a non-equivalent control group was carried out. Four hundred and fifty people living in 20 rural villages were interviewed. These localities were randomly selected from 110 intervened localities. Paired "t" test was performed to evaluate the effect on malaria knowledge of the community health workers (n=243). The effect of the intervention on the effect variables was measured by using logistic regression and by comparing people who were exposed and non-exposed to the educational strategy. Results. Knowledge on malaria in community health workers increased after the intervention (p<0.05). In the communities, 170/447 (38%) interviewed individuals had contact with the intervention in the communities. Those exposed to the intervention showed improvements in knowledge about breeding sites (OR: 2.53, 95%IC:1.7-3.76), bed-nets use (OR:1.81, 95%IC:1.10-2.97) and a decrease in self-medication with antimalarial drugs (OR:1.97, 95%IC: 1.04-3.73). Contact with the intervention reduced reported episodes of malaria (OR:0.58, 95%CI: 0.39-0.87). Conclusion. Significant improvements in preventive practices may be achieved with educational interventions, which in turn may reduce malaria ocurrence.
Keywords : malaria; health education; program evaluation; impact evaluation.