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Malaria treatment-seeking behaviour and related factors of Wa ethnic minority in Myanmar: a cross-sectional study

Jian-Wei Xu1*, Qi-Zhang Xu2, Hui Liu1 and Yi-Rou Zeng3

Author Affiliations

1 Yunan Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Puer, 665000, China

2 People’s Hospital of Taikang County, Henan Province, China

3 Mengmao County Hospital, Shan Special Region II, Myanmar

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Malaria Journal 2012, 11:417  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-417

Published: 14 December 2012



In Southeast Asia, data on malaria treatment-seeking behaviours and related affecting factors are rare. The population of the Wa ethnic in Myanmar has difficulty in accessing formal health care. To understand malaria treatment-seeking behaviour and household-affecting factors of the Wa people, a cross-sectional study carried out in Shan Special Region II, Myanmar.


The two methods, questionnaire-based household surveys to household heads and in-depth interviews to key informants, were carried out independently. The proportion of treatment-seeking patterns was calculated. Logistic regression was used to determine affecting factors of treatment-seeking. Qualitative data were analysed by using Text Analysis Markup System.


Overall, 87.5% of the febrile population sought treatment, but only 32.0% did so within 24 hours. The proportion accessing the retail sector (79.6%) was statistically significant higher (P<0.0001) than accessing the public sector (10.6%). Multivariable logistic regression analysis identified family income, distances from a health facility, family decision and patient characteristics being independently associated with delayed malaria treatment.


Malaria treatment-seeking behaviour is not appropriate, and affecting factors include health service systems, social and cultural factors in Wa State of Myanmar.

Malaria; Treatment-seeking behaviour; Wa ethnic; Household survey