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Open Access Research

Baseline results of the first malaria indicator survey in Iran at household level

Mahdi Mohammadi1, Alireza Ansari-Moghaddam1*, Ahmad Raiesi2, Fatemeh Rakhshani1, Fatemeh Nikpour2, Aliakbar Haghdost3, Mansoor Ranjbar4, Rahim Taghizadeh-Asl4, Mohammad Sakeni5, Reza Safari6 and Mehdi Saffari7

Author Affiliations

1 Health Promotion Research Center, Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Zahedan, Iran

2 Center for Disease Control & Prevention, Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Tehran, Iran

3 Physiology Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

4 United Nation Development Program, Tehran, Iran

5 Province Health Center, Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Zahedan, Iran

6 Province Health Center, Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences, Bandar Abbas, Iran

7 Province Health Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

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Malaria Journal 2011, 10:277  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-10-277

Published: 22 September 2011

Abstract

Background

Malaria is one of the leading causes of sickness and death in the developing world, causing more than a million deaths and around 250 million new cases annually worldwide. The aim of this comprehensive survey was to provide information on malaria indicators at household level in high-risk malaria areas in Iran.

Methods

In a cluster randomized cross-sectional survey data were collected from 5,456 households in both rural and urban areas of 20 malaria-affected districts of Iran. All the fieldwork was done by trained interviewers and a validated questionnaire. The questionnaire comprised baseline characteristics of the study population, the knowledge of people about different aspects of malaria (such as clinical symptoms, transmission and prevention) and their practice to prevent illness (such as using mosquito nets, spraying houses). The data were analysed and descriptive statistics (i.e. frequencies, percentages) were used to summarize the results.

Results

The results of this survey showed that 20% (95% CI: 17.36 - 22.24) of households owned at least one mosquito net, whether treated or untreated. Consequently, the use of mosquito nets was considerably low among both children under age five [5.90% (95% CI: 5.14 - 6.66)] and pregnant women [5.70% (95% CI: 3.07 - 8.33)]. Moreover, less than 10% of households reported that the interior walls of their dwelling had been sprayed in the previous year [8.70% (95% CI: 6.09 - 11.31)]. Data also suggest that 63.8% of the participants recognized fever as a sign of malaria, 56.4% reported that mosquito bites cause malaria and about 35% of participants mentioned that the use of mosquito nets could prevent malaria.

Conclusion

Findings from this study indicate that low access to treated nets along with low understanding of the role of nets in malaria prevention are the main barriers to utilization of bed nets. Therefore, the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets should be encouraged through health education on the importance of the use along with increasing access to it.