Background: Although malaria control programs have made rapid progress recently, they neglect important social and behavioral factors associated with the disease. Social, political, and cultural factors are involved in malaria control, and individuals in a community may be comfortable in behaving in ways that, to an outsider, may seem contrary to commonly held perceptions. Malaria control efforts can no longer afford to overlook the multidimensional human contexts that create and support varying notions of malaria and its prevention, treatment, and control. This study aimed to assess the knowledge and perceptions of malaria issues in the community, and to identify practices that support or hinder the progress of malaria control programs. Methods: A triangulation study involving individual interviews, focus group discussions, and observatory analysis between 2003 and 2010 at Lomahasha, a malarious community on the eastern border of Swaziland and Mozambique, was conducted. Results: Results indicated that a high knowledge level and good perception of the disease were observed in the age group of < 40 years, contrary to those in higher age groups, among the Lomahasha community members. However, behavior of certain community groups includes practices that are not supportive of the national control program's aspirations, such as delay in seeking medical attention, staying outdoors until late, maintaining stagnant water in roadside excavations, and seeking medical assistance from wrong sources. Malpractices are more commonly observed among men, boys, and those who drink alcohol. Conclusion: This study suggests a thorough community diagnosis before all intervention programs for malaria control are instituted.
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