Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Regarding Malaria Transmission and Prevention in an Indigenous Maijuna Community: A Qualitative Study in the Peruvian Amazon



Hogan, Kathryn

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In 2018, the World Health Organization reported 228 million cases of malaria worldwide, which led to 405,000 deaths. Over 90% of incident malaria cases in Peru are localized in the Department of Loreto, and many who reside there live in rural, subsistence farming communities that are geographically isolated from existing healthcare services. Therefore, the emphasis on preventive behaviors, such as sleeping under an insecticide treated bed net, using indoor residual spraying in households, as well as early treatment seeking is vital to decreasing transmission. However, the uptake of these behaviors is often dependent upon local malaria knowledge, beliefs, and the idea that malaria is embedded and unavoidable in society. This exploratory case study used semi-structured interviews to examine the knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to malaria prevention among the indigenous Maijuna people of Sucusari, Loreto, Peru. We interviewed 33 community members and performed 31 malaria rapid diagnostic tests. All test results were negative for malaria. Themes that emerged were confusion surrounding malaria transmission, knowledge of methods to prevent malaria, changes in malaria cases over time, treatment-seeking as a common behavior, the belief that medications are effective, and the lifetime use of bed nets. These results should be used as a foundation for further studies among communities in the Peruvian Amazon that have limited access to health services, where culturally resonant, community-based health programming is essential to improving health.



Peru, Malaria, Indigenous, Qualitative, Peruvian Amazon