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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 83-87

Assessing perceptions about malaria among the elected representatives in rural India

1 Community Health Cell, Bangalore; Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, SRM University, Chennai, India
2 National Institute of Malaria Research (ICMR), Bangalore, India

Correspondence Address:
Rajan R Patil
Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, SRM University, Potheri, Kattankulathur - 603 203, Greater Chennai
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Source of Support: ICMR, New Delhi, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2229-5070.86938

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Objective: The short-term objective of our endeavour was to understand the perception of Grama panchayat presidents and secretaries on the issues related to malaria and its control, being the key leaders of the Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) at a Grama panchayat level. This was necessary to achieve the long-term objective of the role of PRIs in malaria control and their enhanced participation/partnership with the public health sector. Materials and Methods: Grama panchayat presidents and secretaries representing all the 28 Grama panchayats of Chikkanayakanahalli taluk Tumkur district in Karnataka were invited for a 1-day workshop. Deliberations with the participants (n = 32) shed light on their perceptions with respect to knowledge, attitude and practice vis-a-vis malaria and its control strategies. Results: Their knowledge of malaria as a disease was fairly good as they were well aware of it being a communicable disease and its transmission by mosquitoes. However, knowledge about the breeding sources of malaria mosquitoes (Anophelines) was very poor. Many practices in vogue to control mosquitoes at the community level were unscientific. There was a general negative attitude toward the government's handling of the malaria problem and the credibility of the health care system. Conclusion: Existence of health committees in every Grama panchayat coupled with their jurisdiction and responsibilities toward sanitation, water supply and health care resources makes PRIs a natural partner to the health sector. While health education and public health intervention strategies should be based on generic principles of science, the implementation and operational specifics should definitely be based on a sociological perspective of the stakeholders.

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