Arts, Humanities and Social Science

Malaria in an Urban Slum: A Qualitative Investigation of Perceptions of Adults in Makoko, Lagos, Nigeria

Malaria prevention, treatment and control remain a daunting challenge for individuals, communities, government and non-governmental organizations in Nigeria. Against this background, this article examined the perceptions of malaria, its prevention and its treatment among the residents of Makoko, Lagos state, Nigeria. Twenty-five respondents and five key informants comprising health care professionals and community leaders were interviewed. The data were collected using in-depth and key informant interview guides, while the data were analysed using manual content analysis. Some of the respondents perceived malaria as either a disease or an illness, while others associated dirty environment, stagnant water, mosquito, the sun and cold weather with malaria onset. Both orthodox and traditional medicines were used for malaria treatment and prevention. The role of income in malaria prevention and treatment showed that some respondents were ready to pay whatever amount it took to treat and prevent malaria, while others saw low income as a barrier to proper treatment of malaria. There is need to educate the people of the community on the causes of malaria so as to dispel misconceptions held about the causes of malaria and thereby improve their health seeking-behaviour.

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