Volume 81, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Informal sources of care may lead to ineffective use of antimalarial drugs. A survey conducted in Malawi estimated the frequency of use of informal and formal services, medications, and household costs. A total of 508 household interviews were conducted. Treatment with an antimalarial was reported in 24% of young children accessing the informal sector and in 91% accessing formal services. Informal care was associated with shorter travel and waiting times, a lower proportion of carers or feverish adults missing work or studies and losing earnings, and a lower proportion of older children missing studies or work. Total out of pocket costs of fever episodes constitutes between 9% and 14% in young children and 18% in adults of their total available resources. Patients may perceive informal services to be associated with opportunity cost advantages; however, these may be associated with health risks of inadequate prescribing, particularly in young children.


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  • Received : 22 Jul 2008
  • Accepted : 08 Jun 2009

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