Differences in Malaria Prevention between Children with and without a Disability in the Upper East Region of Ghana
Purpose: Malaria is a common cause of death among children with a disability in Ghana. This research aimed to find out whether there are differences in malaria prevention measures given by caretakers to children with and without a disability – under 15 years of age – within one family, in the Upper East Region of Ghana.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 families who had both a child with and without a disability. Snowball sampling was used to locate the families living in both rural and urban areas. They were interviewed by using a non-validated topic list based on literature. Statements were processed through qualitative data analysis. A malaria professional working at the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital was interviewed for a nurse’s perspective on the subject.
Results: Caretakers with some education knew more about malaria and malaria prevention measures than uneducated caretakers. None of the caretakers in rural areas had any education and they had limited knowledge about malaria. All the children in this study received some form of prevention from their caretakers, but it was not very effective. In the rural area there was a difference in the incidence of malaria among children with and without a disability. The malaria professional’s perspective was that children with a disability are more vulnerable despite receiving the same prevention and treatment as other children.
Conclusions: Almost all the children within one family received the same malaria prevention measures from their caretakers, but it was not always as effective as required, especially in the rural area where the incidence of malaria was higher among some of the children with a disability.
Limitations: Some of the study limitations are the use of translators, the discussion of sensitive subjects and the possibility that socially desirable answers were given.
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