Outdoor malaria transmission risks and social life: a qualitative study in South-Eastern Tanzania

Moshi, I. R., Manderson, L., Ngowo, H. S. , Mlacha, Y. P., Okumu, F. O. and Mnyone, L. L. (2018) Outdoor malaria transmission risks and social life: a qualitative study in South-Eastern Tanzania. Malaria Journal, 17, 397. (doi: 10.1186/s12936-018-2550-8) (PMID:30373574) (PMCID:PMC6206631)

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Background: Behaviour changes in mosquitoes from indoor to outdoor biting result in continuing risk of malaria from outdoor activities, including routine household activities and occasional social and cultural practices and gatherings. This study aimed to identify the range of social and cultural gatherings conducted outdoors and their associated risks for mosquito bites. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in four villages in the Kilombero Valley from November 2015 to March 2016. Observations, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews were conducted. The recorded data were transcribed and translated from Swahili to English. Thematic content analysis was used to identify perspectives on the importance of various social and cultural gatherings that incidentally expose people to mosquito bites and malaria infection. Results: Religious, cultural and social gatherings involving the wider community are conducted outdoors at night till dawn. Celebrations include life course events, religious and cultural ceremonies, such as Holy Communion, weddings, gatherings at Easter and Christmas, male circumcision, and rituals conducted to please the gods and to remember the dead. These celebrations, at which there is minimal use of interventions to prevent bites, contribute to individual satisfaction and social capital, helping to maintain a cohesive society. Bed net use while sleeping outdoors during mourning is unacceptable, and there is minimal use of other interventions, such as topical repellents. Long sleeve clothes are used for protection from mosquito bites but provide less protection. Conclusion: Gatherings and celebrations expose people to mosquito bites. Approaches to prevent risks of mosquito bites and disease management need to take into account social, cultural and environmental factors. Area specific interventions may be expensive, yet may be the best approach to reduce risk of infection as endemic countries work towards elimination. Focusing on single interventions will not yield the best outcomes for malaria prevention as social contexts and vector behaviour vary.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ngowo, Halfan and Okumu, Professor Fredros
Authors: Moshi, I. R., Manderson, L., Ngowo, H. S., Mlacha, Y. P., Okumu, F. O., and Mnyone, L. L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Malaria Journal
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN (Online):1475-2875
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Malaria Journal 17: 397
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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