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Using WeChat official accounts to improve malaria health literacy among Chinese expatriates in Niger: an intervention study

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Background: Malaria is the main health risk for Chinese expatriates working in Niger. Health education is a recommended intervention for prevention of malaria among non-immune travellers and expatriate workers. It is urgent to develop an effective and feasible way for these populations to obtain information about the prevention and treatment of malaria.

Methods: An individually randomized, unblinded, controlled trial was used to evaluate the effectiveness of using WeChat official accounts for health education to improve malaria health literacy among Chinese expatriates in Niger. A total 1441 participants completed a baseline malaria health literacy questionnaire and were randomly assigned to an intervention or comparison group in a ratio of 1:1. From July to October 2014, 50 malaria prevention and treatment messages were sent to the intervention group; 50 health news messages were concurrently sent to the control group. Both groups completed the malaria health literacy questionnaire again 4 months after the start of the education intervention. A questionnaire addressing satisfaction with the health education programme was completed by the intervention group. Malaria morbidity data for 2013 and 2014 were also collected.

Results: At baseline, participant health literacy rates were 58.29, 62, 54, and 34% for skills, knowledge, practice, and attitude, respectively. After the intervention, rates for all four aspects of malaria literacy were above 70%. There was greater change in knowledge, attitude, practice, skills, and overall health literacy among the intervention group compared with the controls, with a statistically significant difference (p < 0.01). This was especially true for acquisition of malaria-related knowledge, practice and attitude; comprehensive intervention practices; and, correct use of rapid diagnostic tests (p < 0.001). The reported malaria morbidity during the study period decreased from 23.72 to 15.40%. Participants reported high levels of satisfaction with the WeChat health education programme with over 80% stating that they would continue to follow the programme.

Conclusions: The present health education intervention, via a WeChat official account, for the prevention and treatment of malaria among non-immune travellers and expatriate workers proved to be an effective, sustainable, feasible, and well accepted strategy for improving malaria health literacy among Chinese expatriates in Niger.

No MeSH data available.


Comparison of changes in malaria-related health literacy accuracy rate between the intervention and control groups
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Fig3: Comparison of changes in malaria-related health literacy accuracy rate between the intervention and control groups

Mentions: The malaria-related knowledge of participants is summarized in Table 3 and Fig. 3. Before the WeChat official account health education intervention, participants’ overall health literacy was approximately 58.29, 58.53 and 58.06% for the intervention group, control group and total population, respectively. The highest literacy score (approximately 62%) was for skills, both for the total and for each group; this was followed by the score for knowledge (approximately 54%). However, with respect to skills, only 25% of participants used RDTs correctly. Participants had less knowledge about comprehensive prevention strategies (approximately 13%). The results showed low attitude scores for the total population (approximately 34%). Practice scores presented the lowest accuracy rate of the total (about 25%), especially for information acquisition and multiple malaria prevention practices, with accuracy rates only around 18 and 16%, respectively.Table 3


Using WeChat official accounts to improve malaria health literacy among Chinese expatriates in Niger: an intervention study
Comparison of changes in malaria-related health literacy accuracy rate between the intervention and control groups
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5121985&req=5

Fig3: Comparison of changes in malaria-related health literacy accuracy rate between the intervention and control groups
Mentions: The malaria-related knowledge of participants is summarized in Table 3 and Fig. 3. Before the WeChat official account health education intervention, participants’ overall health literacy was approximately 58.29, 58.53 and 58.06% for the intervention group, control group and total population, respectively. The highest literacy score (approximately 62%) was for skills, both for the total and for each group; this was followed by the score for knowledge (approximately 54%). However, with respect to skills, only 25% of participants used RDTs correctly. Participants had less knowledge about comprehensive prevention strategies (approximately 13%). The results showed low attitude scores for the total population (approximately 34%). Practice scores presented the lowest accuracy rate of the total (about 25%), especially for information acquisition and multiple malaria prevention practices, with accuracy rates only around 18 and 16%, respectively.Table 3

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Background: Malaria is the main health risk for Chinese expatriates working in Niger. Health education is a recommended intervention for prevention of malaria among non-immune travellers and expatriate workers. It is urgent to develop an effective and feasible way for these populations to obtain information about the prevention and treatment of malaria.

Methods: An individually randomized, unblinded, controlled trial was used to evaluate the effectiveness of using WeChat official accounts for health education to improve malaria health literacy among Chinese expatriates in Niger. A total 1441 participants completed a baseline malaria health literacy questionnaire and were randomly assigned to an intervention or comparison group in a ratio of 1:1. From July to October 2014, 50 malaria prevention and treatment messages were sent to the intervention group; 50 health news messages were concurrently sent to the control group. Both groups completed the malaria health literacy questionnaire again 4 months after the start of the education intervention. A questionnaire addressing satisfaction with the health education programme was completed by the intervention group. Malaria morbidity data for 2013 and 2014 were also collected.

Results: At baseline, participant health literacy rates were 58.29, 62, 54, and 34% for skills, knowledge, practice, and attitude, respectively. After the intervention, rates for all four aspects of malaria literacy were above 70%. There was greater change in knowledge, attitude, practice, skills, and overall health literacy among the intervention group compared with the controls, with a statistically significant difference (p < 0.01). This was especially true for acquisition of malaria-related knowledge, practice and attitude; comprehensive intervention practices; and, correct use of rapid diagnostic tests (p < 0.001). The reported malaria morbidity during the study period decreased from 23.72 to 15.40%. Participants reported high levels of satisfaction with the WeChat health education programme with over 80% stating that they would continue to follow the programme.

Conclusions: The present health education intervention, via a WeChat official account, for the prevention and treatment of malaria among non-immune travellers and expatriate workers proved to be an effective, sustainable, feasible, and well accepted strategy for improving malaria health literacy among Chinese expatriates in Niger.

No MeSH data available.