High mobility and low use of malaria preventive measures among the Jarai male youth along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border

Charlotte Gryseels, Koen Peeters, Susan Dierickx, Xa Nguyen Xuan, Sambunny Uk, Melanie Bannister-Tyrrell, Suzan Trienekens, Joan Muela Ribera, Susanna Hausmann-Muela, René Gerrets, Umberto D'Alessandro, Tho Sochantha, Marc Coosemans, Annette Erhart

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Abstract

Malaria control along the Vietnam-Cambodia border presents a challenge for both countries' malaria elimination targets as the region is forested, inhabited by ethnic minority populations, and potentially characterized by early and outdoor malaria transmission. A mixed methods study assessed the vulnerability to malaria among the Jarai population living on both sides of the border in the provinces of Ratanakiri (Cambodia) and Gia Lai (Vietnam). A qualitative study generated preliminary hypotheses that were quantified in two surveys, one targeting youth (N = 498) and the other household leaders (N = 449). Jarai male youth, especially in Cambodia, had lower uptake of preventive measures (57.4%) and more often stayed overnight in the deep forest (35.8%) compared with the female youth and the adult population. Among male youth, a high-risk subgroup was identified that regularly slept at friends' homes or outdoors, who had fewer bed nets (32.5%) that were torn more often (77.8%). The vulnerability of Jarai youth to malaria could be attributed to the transitional character of youth itself, implying less fixed sleeping arrangements in nonpermanent spaces or non-bed sites. Additional tools such as long-lasting hammock nets could be suitable as they are in line with current practices.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume93
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)810-818
ISSN0002-9637
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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