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Afr Health Sci. 2009 Sep;9(3):206-10.

Health care related factors associated with severe malaria in children in Kampala, Uganda.

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Makerere University, School fo Medicine, Department of Medicine, Kampala, Uganda.



Severe malaria is responsible for the high load of malaria mortality. It is not clearly understood why some malaria episodes progress to severe malaria.


To determine factors associated with severe malaria in children aged 6 months to 5 years living in Kampala.


Over a 6-month period, 100 children with severe malaria were matched by age and place of residence with 100 children with non-severe malaria. We collected health care information from care takers.


Mean duration of illness before getting antimalarial treatment was shorter for controls than cases (8 hours vs. 20 hours, p 0.015). Children with severe malaria were less likely to have been treated with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine in the preceding 2 weeks (OR 0.2, 95% CI 0.04-0.85, p 0.016). Odds of severe malaria were higher in those who reported lack of protective measures (mosquito coils (OR = 20.63, 95% CI 1.5-283.3, p=0.02 and insecticide sprays OR 10.93, 95% CI 1.13-105.64, p=0.03), although few reported their use.


Early anti-malarial treatment and use of barriers against mosquitoes prevent severe malaria in children. There is need to increase the use of barriers against mosquito bites and to scale up prompt treatment and community-based interventions to reduce the incidence of severe malaria in children.


Factors associated with severe malaria in children; Uganda; children; health care; severe malaria

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