Environmental Management for Malaria Control: Knowledge and Practices in Mvomero District, Tanzania
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Malaria is the leading cause of death in Tanzania, killing 100,000-125,000 people annually, the majority of which are children under five. Environmental conditions play an important role in transmission of the disease, and therefore regulating these conditions can help to reduce disease burden. Environmental management practices for disease control (e.g. draining stagnant water and eliminating mosquito breeding habitats) can be implemented at the community level as a complement to other malaria control methods. This study assesses current knowledge and practices related to mosquito ecology and environmental management in Mvomero District, a rural, agricultural area in Tanzania. A total of 408 household surveys, 4 focus group discussions, and 3 in-depth interviews were conducted in 10 villages in the district. Results indicate that while most respondents understand the link between mosquitoes and malaria, many do not have an in-depth understanding of mosquito ecology. For example, 30% of respondents did not know where mosquito larvae live and nearly 40% incorrectly believed that cutting grasses and bushes around the home reduces mosquito abundance. Regarding environmental management practices, 50% of respondents reported cleaning residential surroundings to protect themselves from malaria and 18% drained stagnant water. Respondents with greater knowledge of mosquito ecology and environmental management were significantly more likely to perform these practices. Qualitative results highlighted community beliefs that environmental management is an important method for malaria control, and that education is necessary to increase community participation in these activities. The findings indicate that an educational program highlighting mosquito ecology and effective environmental management techniques would be an important step in increasing community participation in environmental management for malaria control in the region.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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