The government of Goa has painfully discovered that awareness on prevention of malaria was lacking among over 60% of participants according to a study conducted by the Goa Medical college for the state government to assess the effectiveness of malaria prevention campaigns during the forthcoming monsoons in the state of Goa.
A study made under the topic " Evaluation of Behaviour Change Communication under Anti-malaria month in Goa 2008" which was conducted by the dept of preventive and social medicine, GMC, states that a majority of over 60% of the participants were unaware of any measures taken by government to prevent mosquito breeding. Over 40 percent recalled insecticide spraying activities undertaken by government bodies and near 57% mentioned fogging activity.
Goa has been found to be prone to malaria and the incidence of malaria is found to be high in the monsoon season and the government pf Goa therefore observes the months of June, July and August as anti-malaria months. Behaviour change communication(BCC) is the strategy adopted by national Vector Borne diseases control programme to achieve this purpose.
The major findings of the above study are that the level of knowledge about malaria, its symptoms, mode of transmission, breeding sites etc was high in the studied population. It was also found that the practices adopted by the study population for prevention and control of malaria were inadequate.
The study recommends that considerable emphasis should be laid on intensive insecticidal spraying activities, wide use of larvivous fish and insecticide treated bednets, maximum utilisation of mass media and interpersonal communication skills.
The study concluded that malaria is a manmade disaster and often linked to construction activities and its control needs co-ordinated efforts from many other government departments such as town and country planning, irrigation, railways, urban development, fisheries, professional organisations etc, this inter sectoral co-ordination has an all round immense impact on the success of anti-malaria campaign through BBC.
The study revealed that although it has been known for a century that mosquitoes transmit malaria there is still a wrong notion among local communities that malaria can also spread through modes other than mosquito bites.
Most of the study participants identified fever as a major symptom of malaria. Second most common symptom identified was cold chills followed by rigors, headache and vomiting. There were also nearly 4% participants who did not know the symptoms of malaria. However over 90 percent of the participants did not know about Insecticide Residual Spray ( IRS)