Abstract Background Health workers’ knowledge deficiencies about artesunate-based severe malaria treatment recommendations have been reported. However, predictors of the treatment knowledge have not been examined. In this paper, predictors of artesunate-based treatment knowledge among inpatient health workers in two hospital sectors in Kenya are reported. Methods Secondary analysis of 367 and 330 inpatient health workers randomly selected and interviewed at 47 government hospitals in 2016 and 43 faith-based hospitals in 2017 respectively, was undertaken. Multilevel ordinal and binary logistic regressions examining the effects of 11 factors on five knowledge outcomes in government and faith-based hospital sectors were performed. Results Among respective government and faith-based health workers, about a third of health workers had high knowledge of artesunate treatment policies (30.8% vs 32.9%), a third knew all dosing intervals (33.5% vs 33.3%), about half knew preparation solutions (49.9% vs 55.8%), half to two-thirds knew artesunate dose for both weight categories (50.8% vs 66.7%) and over three-quarters knew the preferred route of administration (78.7% vs 82.4%). Eight predictors were significantly associated with at least one of the examined knowledge outcomes. In the government sector, display of artesunate administration posters, paediatric ward allocation and repeated surveys were significantly associated with more than one of the knowledge outcomes. In the faith-based hospitals, availability of artesunate at hospitals and health worker pre-service training were associated with multiple outcomes. Exposure to in-service malaria case-management training and access to malaria guidelines were only associated with higher knowledge about artesunate treatment policy. Conclusion Programmatic interventions ensuring display of artesunate administration posters in the wards, targeting of health workers managing adult patients in the medical wards, and repeated knowledge assessments are likely to be beneficial for improving the knowledge of government health workers about artesunate-based severe malaria treatment recommendations. The availability of artesunate and focus on improvements of nurses’ knowledge should be prioritized at the faith-based hospitals.
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