what are the methods for community based management for malaria?
Community-based management of malaria revolves around three main principles: prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
Prevention mainly revolves around stopping mosquitoes from biting people. Methods for this include distribution of long-lasting insecticide treated bednets (and teaching people to use them properly!), indoor residual spraying to stop mosquitoes from living in houses, screening houses properly and removing sources of stagnant water from the community to stop mosquitoes from breeding. Collectively, these methods are considered “vector control”. They have benefit for the individuals who practice the methods, as well as collective benefit at the community level from reduced transmission. Within the community, pregnant women and young children, who are most at risk of severe infection, are often targeted for preventive measures. In addition, transmission of malaria from a pregnant mother to her unborn child can be prevented through chemoprophylaxis, administered usually twice during pregnancy, in a process known as intermittent preventive therapy (IPT).
Diagnosis and treatment involves educating people about the symptoms of malaria so that if they suspect they are infected, they know how and where to seek appropriate medical care. The community therefore has to provide a clinic or hospital that is sufficiently equipped to do accurate diagnosis, which requires blood testing. Clinicians should also be able to identify which type of malaria the patient is infected with, since this determines treatment. Identification of the type of malaria is usually done via looking at the blood of the patient under a microscope, a process which requires a significant amount of training. The type of treatment depends on the severity of infection as well as the type of parasite they are infected with.
All of the above interventions depend on sustained investment in community health care, training of local health workers and clinicians and education the community about the transmission of malaria and how this can be interrupted.