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Open Access Research

Impact of community-based presumptive chloroquine treatment of fever cases on malaria morbidity and mortality in a tribal area in Orissa State, India

Lalit K Das*, Purushothaman Jambulingam and Candasamy Sadanandane

Author Affiliations

Vector Control Research Centre, Indian Council of Medical Research, Indira Nagar, Pondicherry-605006, India

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Malaria Journal 2008, 7:75  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-7-75

Published: 5 May 2008

Abstract

Background

In the Global Strategy for Malaria Control, one of the basic elements is early detection and prompt treatment of malaria cases, especially in areas where health care facilities are inadequate. Establishing or reviving the existing drug distribution centers (DDC) at the peripheral levels of health care can achieve this. The DDCs should be operationally feasible, acceptable by community and technical efficient, particularly in remote hard-core malaria endemic areas.

Methods

Volunteers from villages were selected for distribution of chloroquine and the selection was made either by villagers or head of the village. The services of the volunteers were absolutely free and voluntary in nature. Chloroquine was provided free of charge to all fever cases. The impact was evaluated based on the changes observed in fever days, fever incidence, parasite incidence and parasite prevalence (proportion of persons harbouring malaria parasite) in the community. Comparisons were made between 1st, 2nd and 3rd year of operation in the experimental villages and between the experimental and check areas.

Results

A total of 411 village volunteers in 378 villages in the experimental community health center with a population of 125,439 treated 88,575 fever cases with a mean annual incidence of 331.8 cases per 1,000 population during the three-year study period. The average morbid days due to fever (AFD) was reduced to 1.6 ± 0.1 from 5.9 ± 2.1 in the experimental villages while it remained at 5.0 ± 1.0 in the check villages. There was a significant reduction, (p < 0.05) in Annual Fever Incidence (AFI) in the experimental hilltop and foothill villages in comparison to check villages. The change in Annual Parasite Incidence (API) was, however, not statistically significant (p > 0.05). In plain villages that were low endemic, the reductions in AFI and API in experimental villages were statistically significant (p < 0.05). There was significant reduction in the parasite prevalence in high endemic villages of the experimental area both during 2nd and 3rd year when compared with the check area (p < 0.05) but no such reduction was observed in low endemic areas (p > 0.0.5). Mortality due to malaria declined by 75% in the experimental villages in the adult age group whereas there was an increasing trend in check villages.

Conclusion

The study demonstrated that a passive chloroquine distribution system operated by village volunteers in tribal areas is feasible and effective in reducing malaria-related morbidity and mortality.