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J Trop Med Hyg. 1995 Feb;98(1):29-34.

Treatment of malaria outside the formal health services.

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  • Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.


Self-medication for malaria is widely practised around the world, and although many home treatment episodes are successful, the risk of under or over-dosing is always present. Reasons for the widespread use of self-medication range from the distance and cost of seeking care from the formal health services to cultural beliefs which suggest that traditional care is more appropriate, and even that modern care may be fatal. But self-medication constitutes an important resource for malaria treatment, and much could be done to improve the self-medication practices of the population. Measures to be taken include dissemination of clear messages about malaria as a part of health education, formulation of realistic treatment policies which take account of resource constraints, lowering or removal of economic barriers, especially user charges, and further research into cultural beliefs about malaria and ways to promote compatibility of beliefs with appropriate treatment. If these suggestions could be taken into account in developing malaria treatment strategies, the chances of success would be greatly enhanced.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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