Microfinance against malaria: Impact of Freedom from Hunger’s malaria education when delivered by rural banks in Ghana
De la Cruz, Natalie, Benjamin Crookston, Bobbi Gray, Steve Alder and Kirk Dearden. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 103:1229–1236. (December 2009).
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A community randomized pre-test/post-test design was used to compare the knowledge and behaviors of microfinance clients receiving malaria education (n = 213) to those receiving diarrhea education (n = 223) and to non-client controls (n = 268). Comparisons assessed differences at follow-up as well as within-group changes over time.
At follow-up, malaria clients had significantly better malaria knowledge than comparison groups: 48.4% of malaria clients were able to identify groups most vulnerable to malaria compared with 39.2% of diarrhea clients (P = 0.044) and 37.7% of non-clients (P = 0.024). Malaria clients were more likely than diarrhea clients (P = 0.024) (P < 0.001) and non-clients (P = 0.028) (P = 0.004) to report that insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) provide the best protection against malaria, and to agree that pregnant women should use ITNs, respectively. Between baseline and follow-up, malaria clients were most likely to: improve in knowledge of malaria complications during pregnancy; to own at least one bed net; and to report at least one child or woman of reproductive age sleeping under a bed net. Malaria clients also experienced the greatest increases in ITN ownership/use (9% vs. 2.9% and 6.7% among diarrhea clients and non-clients). Results indicate that, although significant barriers to malaria control remain, a malaria education program provided by microfinance institutions can effectively contribute to community and national malaria initiatives.
Author: De la Cruz, Natalie, Benjamin Crookston, Bobbi Gray, Steve Alder and Kirk Dearden
Publication Date: 12/01/2009