Objective: The overall aim of the project was to understand healthcare utilization patterns and access to and trust in resources regarding malaria and other febrile illness in two regions (Port-au-Prince and Artibonite Département) differentially affected by the 2010 earthquake.
Methods: In 2012-2013, a cross-sectional survey was conducted with clinic patients regarding local perceptions of febrile illnesses, treatment patterns, malaria knowledge, information sources for malaria, and perceived trustworthiness of these sources.
Results: Overall, hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics were commonly used facilities for treatment of febrile illness; however, over 72% of respondents also used traditional medication. Respondents with higher education were more likely to use pharmacies and biomedical and traditional medications than those with lower education. Respondents reported that children were more vulnerable to fever than adults. Respondents were knowledgeable about malaria; however, numbers and types of sources of information used about malaria varied significantly by demographic characteristics including gender, education, region, and residency. Trust in resources varied by types of resources, respondent demographics, and health utilization patterns.
Conclusion: Healthcare utilization practices and access to reliable and trusted health information resources are significant factors in prevention and treatment of infectious diseases including malaria and other acute febrile illnesses. Differential use of health facilities and resources can result in health disparities between demographic and socio-economic groups. These preliminary data suggest the need for community-based research on perceived access to healthcare facilities and resources and trust in those resources to facilitate development of targeted sustainable education and intervention programs.
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