Study: Malaria up in the Highlands

National, Normal

The National- Thursday, January 20, 2011


A RECENT research conducted by the Population International Services (PSI) has shown that reported cases of malaria in the past year were significantly higher in the highlands than in coastal areas.

The malaria survey, a first of its kind, was conducted from October, 2009, to April, 2010, in targeting a total of 2, 271 households in the Momase, Highlands, Islands and Southern regions.

From this, 60.9% or 1, 383 of the households surveyed, had at least one case of malaria – 67.2% or 929 reported cases of malaria were from low-risk areas (highlands) areas and 454 from high-risk areas (coastal).

It is widely known in Papua New Guinea in the past that the highlands areas were low-risk areas for malaria due to the cold climate.

PSI said contributing factors to malaria was the increase in population mobility with highlanders moving frequently to and from the coastal areas such as Lae, Madang and West New Britain dispersing malaria parasites more.

Among other statistics, 69% of 2,155 households had at least one net – 786 households in low-risk areas and 1,369 in high-risk areas.

About 43.5% of pregnant women from a total of 198 households slept under a net – 58% or 98 in low-risk areas and the rest in high-risk areas.

PSI said the survey focused on malaria knowledge, attitudes and behaviours and provided data for PSI programmers to monitor, assess and effectively design malaria programme activities in PNG.

The primary objective of this study was to estimate the levels of insecticide treated net (ITN) ownership and use and the levels of correct 

treatment seeking and drug completion behaviour for children under the age of 5 as reported 

by their caregivers.