The management of fevers in Kenyan children and adults in an area of seasonal malaria transmission.
Guyatt HL., Snow RW.
This study investigates the source, timing and types of treatment for fevers across all ages in a low malaria-transmission area of Kenya. The period prevalence for fever, and subsequent treatment seeking behaviour, was similar across all ages. The use of the informal retail sector was common (47% of first actions), though most visits to shops and chemists (77%) resulted in treatment with an antipyretic not an antimalarial. The major source of the first line recommended drug, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), was at the formal health sector, and 32% of fevers made at least one visit to a health care facility. Although only 7% of fevers received SP within 24 hours of fever onset, 27% ultimately received treatment with this antimalaria. It is estimated that of the total amount of SP consumed in this population, only 20% is administered to children less than 5 years old. In this area of Kenya disease risks decline with increasing age, however, adult populations consume over 40% of prescribed or purchased anti-malarial drugs. In light of the proposed new, more costly anti-malarial drug combinations these findings have major implications for the effective allocation of limited financial resources at household and government levels.