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Background: Monitoring of malaria infection and antimalarial drug efficacy is necessary for effective case management, detection of resistance and control of the disease.
Objective: The aim of this study was to assess malaria infection and the efficacy of antimalarials among persons patronizing drugstores for malaria treatment in Port Harcourt and its environs, Rivers State, Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: Whole blood was randomly collected from individuals visiting 24 drug stores for malaria treatment in three different locations in Port Harcourt and analysed using both microscopy and rapid diagnostic techniques.
Results: The overall prevalence of 22.8% was recorded out of 633 participants for (P. falciparum) malaria. Infection was highest in Mile IV (Rumueme) 30.8% followed by Rumuosi, 23.1% and the least was D/Line area, 14.5% out of 221 participants per location respectively. The incidence of malaria in the study area was significantly different (X2 = 16.69; p = 0.001). There was no significant difference in the intensity of malaria parasite infection in the study areas. Seven types of drugs were purchased to treat perceived malaria. 177 (26.7%) participants purchased coatem, 187 (28.3%) purchased Lonart. The others were Lumartem 133 (20.1%), P.alaxin 83 (12.5%), Amarla by 19 (2.9%) and artesunate by 57 (8.6%). All the antimalarial were purchased by those that tested positive. The most purchased drug was Lonart 11 (34.37%), Lumartem 25 (36.8%) and Malareich 19 (31.3%) in D/Line, Mile IV and Rumuosi cluster areas respectively. There was a significant difference in the antimalarials purchased. Result of Follow up test shows that only 59.6% returned to be tested and they all tested negative.
Conclusion: Malaria preponderance was high among studied subjects, ACT was topmost among antimalarials regularly purchased by the individuals. Conformity to the use of ACT could be said to be impressive though not yet 100%. People who are treated for malaria should be encouraged to undergo a test after treatment for effective case management and detection of resistance.
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