Factors Associated with Asymptomatic Malaria Infection among Primary School Pupils in Buhigwe District, Kigoma, Tanzania

  • Vector-borne
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Asymptomatic malaria is prevalent in highly endemic areas of Africa and is a new challenge for malaria prevention and control strategies. This study aimed at determining the factors associated with asymptomatic malaria infection among primary school children in Buhigwe district.
This was a cross sectional study involving 341 pupils aged between 7-18 years. A four stage cluster sampling tech- nique was used to select the participants. Data was collected using structured questionnaire for pupils and obser- vational checklist during home visit. Study participants were subjected to malaria rapid diagnostic test (mRDTs). Malaria microscopy was used to identify the type of species. Data was entered, cleaned using Microsoft excel and analyzed using EPI Info software version 3.5.4 and 7.
A total of 341 primary schools pupils were recruited in the study with 100% response rate. The mean age of pupils was 11 years with 2.7 Standard Deviation. The prevalence of asymptomatic malaria infection was 29%. Pupils below 11 years had two higher odds of malaria infection than older ones [Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) = 2.6; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.53 – 4.46]. Boys had twice higher odds of malaria than girls [AOR = 2.1; 95% CI 1.25 – 3.51]. Outdoor activities and presence of stagnant water around home were found to increase the odds of malaria infection [AOR = 3.0; 95% CI 1.65 – 5.47].
The epidemiology of malaria is very complex, involving several factors. Since asymptomatic malaria infection is high in this age group (pupils) there is a need of regular/scheduled testing and treatment at schools. There is a need of joining forces between the health systems and education system. Furthermore continual public education in these endemic areas on preventive measures is highly needed.

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