Unequal treatment access and malaria risk in a community-based intervention program in the Philippines

Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2005 May;36(3):578-86.


This study assesses the influence of several malaria risk factors and volunteer health worker (VHW) accessibility on parasite prevalence and treatment-seeking in a remote area of Mindanao, the Philippines. An anti-malaria program in the area seeks to devolve malaria diagnosis and treatment to the VHWs. Firstly, the relationship between malaria and demographic factors, bednet use, and access to treatment was investigated. Secondly, adults from villages with and without resident VHWs were questioned on historical and proposed treatment-seeking for fever and the capacity of the communities to support more health workers was assessed. Parasite prevalence was significantly higher among patients living in villages lacking a resident VHW (adjusted OR=3.88, p=0.02), where proposed delays in consulting VHWs and the official health service, and the use of alternative medicine, were also significantly higher. Kinship or social closeness to VHWs appears to play a role in accessibility. The educational and economic requirements demanded of VHWs impede potential expansion of the program to non-serviced villages. If the effectiveness and equity of community-based treatment strategies is to be increased, increased flexibility allowing use of local, less-educated, drug dispensers needs to be considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antimalarials
  • Bedding and Linens
  • Community Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Community Health Workers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Malaria / diagnosis
  • Malaria / epidemiology*
  • Malaria / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Philippines / epidemiology
  • Plasmodium / isolation & purification
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors


  • Antimalarials