Proximity to a community health worker is associated with utilization of malaria treatment services in the community among under-five children: a cross-sectional study in rural Uganda
Bagenda, Fred N.
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Background: In rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa, health facilities are difficult to access for prompt treatment of malaria. Community health workers (CHWs) have been trained and equipped to treat malaria. Utilization of their service has not been adequately evaluated. The aim of this study was to determine the level of utilization of CHWs, and whether distance and other factors influence the utilization. Methods: The authors conducted a cross-sectional study among households with a child below 5 y of age and interviewed caregivers in Sheema district, rural western Uganda. Logistic regression was used to calculate adjusted ORs (aOR) for factors associated with use of CHW services. Results: Among 547 households, 64% (338/528) reported using CHWs as the first point of consultation for their febrile children. Factors associated with the use of CHWs services were lower asset index (aOR=1.9, p=0.02), mother being the decision maker for site of first consultation (aOR=1.9, p=0.01), distance to nearest CHW of <3 km (aOR=2.1, p=0.03) compared to >3 km, and trust for CHWs services (aOR=7.8, p<0.001). Conclusion: Proximal location to a CHW is associated with use of CHW services. Programs should ensure that CHW are well located to enable easy access.
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