We studied associations between delayed care seeking, demographic, socioeconomic, and geographic factors and likelihood of severe malaria in Ugandan children. The study was based at Jinja Hospital, Uganda. We enrolled 325 severe malaria cases and 325 uncomplicated malaria controls matched by age and residence. Patient details, an itinerary of events in response to illness, household information, and location of participants’ residences were captured. Conditional logistic regression was used to determine risk factors for severe malaria and delayed care seeking. Delayed care seeking (≥ 24 hours after fever onset; odds ratio [OR] 5.50; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.70, 11.1), seeking care at a drug shop as the initial response to illness (OR 3.62; 95% CI 1.86, 7.03), and increasing distance from place of residence to the nearest health center (OR 1.45; 95% CI 1.17, 1.79) were independent risk factors for severe malaria. On subgroup analysis, delayed care seeking was a significant risk factor in children with severe malaria attributable to severe anemia (OR 15.6; 95% CI 3.02, 80.6), but not unconsciousness (OR 1.13; 95% CI 0.30, 4.28). Seeking care at a drug shop (OR 2.84; 95% CI 1.12, 7.21) and increasing distance to the nearest health center (OR 1.18; 95% CI 1.01, 1.37) were independent risk factors for delayed care seeking. Delayed care seeking and seeking care at a drug shop were risk factors for severe malaria. Seeking care at a drug shop was also a predictor of delayed care seeking. The role of drug shops in contributing to delayed care and risk of severe malaria requires further study.
© The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Received : 22 Jan 2017 Accepted : 03 Jul 2017