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01.12.2018 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Malaria Journal 1/2018

Caregiver responses and association with delayed care-seeking in children with uncomplicated and severe malaria

Malaria Journal > Ausgabe 1/2018
Arthur Mpimbaza, Anne Katahoire, Philip J. Rosenthal, Charles Karamagi, Grace Ndeezi
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12936-018-2630-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Gaps remain in understanding the role of caregiver responses on time to seek appropriate care. The objective of this study was to describe caregiver responses to illness and the impact of these responses on time to seek appropriate care among children with malaria.


A case–control study of 325 children with severe (cases) and 325 children with uncomplicated (controls) malaria was conducted in Jinja, Uganda. Caregivers’ responses to their children’s illnesses and time to seek appropriate care were documented. Responses included staying at home, seeking care at drug shops, and seeking care at public health facilities classified into two types: (1) health facilities where caregiver initially sought care before enrollment, and (2) health facilities where children were provided appropriate care and enrolled in the study. Weighted Cox regression was used to determine risk factors for delays in time to seek appropriate care within 24 h of illness onset.


Children staying home on self-medication was the most common initial response to illness among caregivers of controls (57.5%) and cases (42.4%, p < 0.001), followed by staying at home without medication (25.2%) and seeking care at drug shops (32.0%) for caregivers of controls and cases, respectively. Seeking care at drug shops was more common among caregivers of cases than of controls (32.0% vs. 12.3%; p < 0.001). However, compared to public health facilities, drug shops offered sub-optimal services with children less likely to have been examined (50.0% vs. 82.9%; p < 0.001) or referred to another facility (12.5% vs. 61.4%; p < 0.001). Upon adjustment for known risk factors for delay, initially seeking care at a drug shop (HR 0.37, p = 0.036) was associated with delay in seeking care at a health facility where appropriate care was provided. In contrast, those initially seeking care at public health facility before enrollment were more likely to subsequently seek care at another public health facility where appropriate care was provided (HR 5.55, p < 0.001).


Caregivers should be educated on the importance of promptly seeking care at a health facility where appropriate care can be provided. The role of drug shops in providing appropriate care to children with malaria needs to be reviewed.
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