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Environmental Management for Malaria Control: Knowledge and Practices in Mvomero, Tanzania

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Abstract

Environmental conditions play an important role in the transmission of malaria; therefore, regulating these conditions can help to reduce disease burden. Environmental management practices for disease control can be implemented at the community level to complement other malaria control methods. This study assesses current knowledge and practices related to mosquito ecology and environmental management for malaria control in a rural, agricultural region of Tanzania. Household surveys were conducted with 408 randomly selected respondents from 10 villages and qualitative data were collected through focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. Results show that respondents are well aware of the links between mosquitoes, the environment, and malaria. Most respondents stated that cleaning the environment around the home, clearing vegetation around the home, or draining stagnant water can reduce mosquito populations, and 63% of respondents reported performing at least one of these techniques to protect themselves from malaria. It is clear that many respondents believe that these environmental management practices are effective malaria control methods, but the actual efficacy of these techniques for controlling populations of vectors or reducing malaria prevalence in the varying ecological habitats in Mvomero is unknown. Further research should be conducted to determine the effects of different environmental management practices on both mosquito populations and malaria transmission in this region, and increased participation in effective techniques should be promoted.

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Notes

  1. The survey instrument is available from the authors upon request.

  2. Note that respondents were able to provide more than one answer to a number of the survey questions, so percentages may total greater than 100.

  3. In addition to self-reports, interviewers directly observed nets in 83% of the households. In comparison, household mosquito net ownership for Morogoro Region was determined to be 64.7% in the 2004/2005 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge Pauline Bernard, Gibson Kagaruki, Michael Ligola, Stanley Lucas, Chacha Manga, Rogers Rindeni, Benjamin Mayala, and Kesheni Senkoro for their dedicated and invaluable assistance with this study. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0720981. Additional support was provided through several Duke University funding sources: the Graduate Award for Research and Training in Global Health, the Faculty Award for Research in Global Health, the Provost's Common Fund, the Aleane Webb Dissertation Research Award, the Graduate School Dissertation Travel Award, the Student International Discussion Group Travel Grant, and the Environmental Internship Fund. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or our other supporting institutions.

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Correspondence to Heather Fawn Randell.

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Randell, H.F., Dickinson, K.L., Shayo, E.H. et al. Environmental Management for Malaria Control: Knowledge and Practices in Mvomero, Tanzania. EcoHealth 7, 507–516 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-010-0343-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-010-0343-9

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