Skip to main content


A qualitative study exploring health seeking behaviour and cultural beliefs of mothers in paediatric malaria treatment decision-making process in Ile-Ife, South-West Nigeria

Article metrics

  • 1588 Accesses

  • 1 Citations


Reducing human infectivity of malaria parasite through early and effective treatment amongst under-five children is a major concern of WHO & MDGs 4 & 6. Getting mothers to bring their children to the nearest facility early for malaria treatment remains a major challenge.


To explore health seeking behaviours and cultural attitudes of mothers of under five children suffering from malaria in Ile Ife using moderate interviews and providing recommendation to the Ministry of Health of Osun State to serve as knowledge basis for developing appropriate intervention.

Materials and methods

The study employs a qualitative research with the aid of purposive sampling, 16 women who brought their under five children to hospital for malaria treatment were recruited. A moderate interview was used to explore the experiences of the mothers and the data generated was subjected to thematic content analysis.


Five themes emerged from the study. All respondents recognized fever as the major feature of malaria but their knowledge of what causes it, symptoms and sign was poor. They all perceived malaria as a simple disease for which mothers should be comfortable to apply home based remedies such as herbal concoctions. Religious beliefs did not prevent mothers from seeking hospital care but some are aware of mothers that rely on Holy water and prayer to treat malaria. Poverty is seen as an impediment to seeking treatment mostly by women in a polygamous relationship. Fear of use of injection to treat malaria in hospital coupled with perceived poor attitude of hospital staff was considered by some mothers.


The study observed that mothers had poor knowledge of malaria; cultural beliefs in home remedies and poverty are issues that affect malaria outcome. Health education of the malaria life cycle, treatment and prevention is necessary for mothers as well as empowerment of women.

Author information

Correspondence to Ibrahim S Bello.

Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Bello, I.S., Rehal, S. A qualitative study exploring health seeking behaviour and cultural beliefs of mothers in paediatric malaria treatment decision-making process in Ile-Ife, South-West Nigeria. Malar J 13, P9 (2014) doi:10.1186/1475-2875-13-S1-P9

Download citation


  • Malaria
  • Malaria Parasite
  • Religious Belief
  • Cultural Belief
  • Malaria Treatment


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate. Please note that comments may be removed without notice if they are flagged by another user or do not comply with our community guidelines.