Educating the security forces, a high risk group in malaria elimination efforts: an example from Sri Lanka.

International health

PubMedID: 25061075

Fernando SD, Rodrigo C, de Silva N, Semege S, Rajapakse S, Samaranayake N, Senenayake S, Premaratne RG. Educating the security forces, a high risk group in malaria elimination efforts: an example from Sri Lanka. Int Health. 2014;6(3):196-202.
BACKGROUND
The security forces are a high risk group for malaria transmission in Sri Lanka. Interrupting transmission and maintaining surveillance in this group is an important component of elimination efforts. The objective of the study was to develop a prototype educational programme on malaria for security forces serving in endemic areas.

METHODS
An interactive seminar was designed to deliver the required knowledge. The content was on current status, transmission, signs and symptoms and the role of security personnel in identification and prevention of malaria. Each seminar was preceded by a pre-test and followed by a post test to assess the improvement of knowledge.

RESULTS
Fifty seminars were held in eight districts over 2 months with 2301 security forces personnel participating. Pre seminar knowledge on malaria was significantly better in the medical corps, those who had completed secondary education and in the Army compared to other security forces (p<0.001). Participation in the seminar resulted in an improvement in all domains tested as shown by test scores in post seminar assessment (p<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS
Conducting a formal educational programme is an effective strategy to improve awareness on malaria amongst security forces personnel who are a high risk group for re-introduction of malaria into the country.