“Outbreaks of vector-borne diseases — such as dengue and malaria — can overwhelm health systems in resource-poor countries. Environmental management strategies that reduce or eliminate vector breeding sites, combined with improved personal prevention strategies, can help to significantly reduce transmission of these infections,” says Dr. Pauline E. Jolly, professor in the department of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Collaborating with an international team—including Dr. Maung Aung, epidemiologist at the Western Regional Health Authority in Jamaica and adjunct assistant professor in UAB’s department of epidemiology; and UAB alumnus Mr. Celestin Missikpode — in a cross-sectional study conducted between May and August 2010, Dr. Jolly evaluated knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAPs) of Western Jamaican residents concerning control of mosquito vectors, as well as protection from mosquito bites.
A total of 361 patients or family members of patients waiting to be seen at hospitals in Western Jamaica (85 males and 276 females) completed a questionnaire pertaining to sociodemographic factors and KAPs regarding vector-borne diseases. The researchers calculated KAP scores and then categorized them as “high” or “low” depending on the number of correct or positive responses. Logistic regression analyses were performed to ascertain predictors of KAP, and linear regression analysis was conducted to establish whether knowledge and attitude scores projected practice scores.
Most participants (87 percent) scored low on knowledge and practice items (78 percent). Conversely, 78 percent scored high on attitudes items. Using multivariate logistic regression, outcomes revealed that housewives were 82 percent less likely than laborers to have “high” attitude scores and homeowners were 65 percent less likely than renters to have “high” attitude scores. Compared with participants from households with no children, participants from households with one or two children were 3.4 times more likely to have “high” attitude scores. And compared with participants from households with fewer than 5 or more people, participants from households with five or more family members were 65 percent less likely to have “high” practice scores. By multivariable linear regression, knowledge and attitude scores significantly predicted practice score.
The researchers concluded that “[t]he study revealed poor knowledge of vector-borne diseases and poor prevention practices among participants. It identified specific groups that can be targeted with vector-control and personal protection interventions to decrease transmission of vector-borne infections.”
“Knowledge, Attitude and Practices Regarding Vector-borne Diseases in Western Jamaica” was published online in August in the Annals of Global Health.