8.5  The role of the Health Extension Practitioner in malaria treatment

Malaria is a curable and preventable disease, but it still kills many people. The main reasons for this unsatisfactory situation are:

  • Some people do not come for treatment until they are very ill because:
    • They do not realise they might have malaria (people often think they have a common cold or other simple common infection).
    • They do not realise that malaria is a very dangerous disease.
  • Many people do not know what causes malaria or how it is spread, so they are not able to protect themselves from the disease. (Prevention is covered in Study Sessions 9, 10 and 11.)

As a Health Extension Practitioner you can improve the situation by:

  • Educating people to seek treatment immediately if they have a fever. This is especially important in young children and pregnant women, who should receive treatment against malaria within 24 hours of becoming ill.
  • Recognising and treating malaria to prevent severe illness and death.
  • Explaining how to take the treatment correctly, so that people can avoid repeated attacks of malaria.
  • Advising patients who do not improve within 48 hours after starting treatment, or whose condition is serious, to go immediately to the nearest health centre that is capable of managing severe malarial disease.

8.4  Adherence to malaria treatment

8.5.1  Key messages and instructions