Malaria is preventable and treatable, yet remains the most prevalent parasitic endemic disease in Africa. This article analyzes prospective observational data from the Malaria Awareness Program (MAP), an interactive malaria education initiative led by home-based care workers to improve participant knowledge of malaria as a precursor to increased uptake of malaria control interventions in the Vhembe District, Limpopo, South Africa. Between 2012 and 2016, 1,330 individuals participated in MAP. MAP's effectiveness was measured through pre- and post-participation surveys assessing knowledge in malaria transmission, symptoms, prevention, and treatment. The primary analysis assessed differences in knowledge between individuals who completed MAP ( n = 499) and individuals who did not complete MAP ( n = 399). The adjusted odds of correct malaria knowledge score versus partially correct or incorrect score among MAP completers was 3.3 and 2.8 times greater for transmission and prevention, respectively ( p values<.001). A subanalysis assessed knowledge improvement among participants who completed both pre- and post-MAP intervention surveys ( n = 266). There was a 21.4% and 10.5% increase in the proportion of participants who cited correct malaria transmission and prevention methods, respectively. Future research should assess behavioral changes toward malaria prevention and treatment as a result of an intervention and examine incidence changes in the region.
Keywords: South Africa; community education; community health workers; home-based care workers; knowledge; malaria.