Looking within the household: gender roles and responses to malaria in Ghana

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2006 Apr;100(4):321-6. doi: 10.1016/j.trstmh.2005.05.004. Epub 2005 Oct 7.


Studies of factors affecting treatment-seeking behaviour for malaria have rarely considered the influence of gender roles and relations within the household. This study supported district-level government workers in the Volta Region of Ghana in conducting a situational analysis of gender inequities in relation to the malaria burden and access to healthcare services for malaria in one community in their district. Qualitative and participatory methods, such as focus group discussions, in-depth individual interviews and ranking exercises, were used. The study found that women who lacked either short- or long-term economic support from male relatives, or disagreed with their husbands or family elders about appropriate treatment-seeking, faced difficulties in accessing health care for children with malaria. This illustrates the significant influence of women's access to resources and decision-making power on treatment-seeking behaviour for children with febrile illnesses, and the importance of approaching malaria management in the community or household from a gender perspective.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Child
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Ghana
  • Health Services Accessibility / standards
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Malaria / therapy*
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*