Approximately 50 percent of the population in Uganda seeks health care from private facilities but there is limited data on the quality of care for malaria in these facilities. This study aimed to document the knowledge, practices and resources during the delivery of malaria care services, among private health practitioners in the mid-western region of Uganda, an area of moderate malaria transmission.
This was a cross sectional study in which purposive sampling was used to select fifteen private-for-profit facilities from each district. An interviewer-administered questionnaire that contained both quantitative and open-ended questions was used. Information was collected on availability of treatment aides, knowledge on malaria, malaria case management, laboratory practices, malaria drugs stock and data management. We determined the proportion of health workers that adequately provided malaria case management according to national standards.
Of the 135 health facilities staff interviewed, 61.48 percent (52.91–69.40) had access to malaria treatment protocols while 48.89 percent (40.19–57.63) received malaria training. The majority of facilities, 98.52 percent (94.75–99.82) had malaria diagnostic services and the most commonly available anti-malarial drug was artemether-lumefantrine, 85.19 percent (78–91), followed by Quinine, 74.81 percent (67–82) and intravenous artesunate, 72.59 percent (64–80). Only 14.07 percent (8.69–21.10) responded adequately to the acceptable cascade of malaria case management practice. Specifically, 33.33 percent (25.46–41.96) responded correctly to management of a patient with a fever, 40.00 percent (31.67–48.79) responded correctly to the first line treatment for uncomplicated malaria, whereas 85.19 percent (78.05–90.71) responded correctly to severe malaria treatment. Only 28.83 percent submitted monthly reports, where malaria data was recorded, to the national database.
This study revealed sub-optimal malaria case management knowledge and practices at private health facilities with approximately 14 percent of health care workers demonstrating correct malaria case management cascade practices. To strengthen the quality of malaria case management, it is recommended that the NMCD distributes current guidelines and tools, coupled with training; continuous mentorship and supportive supervision; provision of adequate stock of essential anti-malarials and RDTs; reinforcing communication and behavior change; and increasing support for data management at private health facilities.
Published in BMC Health Services Research
Country: UgandaKeywords: Research | Malaria | Quality improvement | SDGs
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