Almost 7 in 10 Nigerians have had malaria at least once in the past year.

Abuja, Nigeria. April 12, 2013 – Latest weekly poll released by NOI Polls Limited has revealed that almost 7 in 10 Nigerians (66%) have had malaria at least once in the past year, and about 13% treat the ailment with the use of local herbs such as AgboDogonyaro, Neem leaves etc. Also, the majority of respondents (90%) agree that HIV/AIDS is a critical health challenge in Nigeria; while suggesting better media and sensitization programs to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS amongst the populace. These are three key findings from the HIV/AIDS and Malaria Snap poll conducted in the week of April 8th 2013. This poll is third in the NOI Polls MDG (Millennium Development Goals) series. Previous topics covered under this series have focused on Rape (Gender equality) and Water & Sanitation (Environment & resources).

Respondents to the poll were asked a total of sx questions. The first question sought to establish the frequency of Malaria infection over the past year. Respondents were asked: In the past 12 months, how many times have you had malaria? From the results, the majority of respondents (66%: 26% + 19% + 10% + 5% + 6%) said they have been infected with Malaria at least once over the past 1 year while 34% of respondents said they have not had malaria in the last 12 month.

Further analysis by geo-political zones shows that Malaria more prevalent in the South than in the North. Results show that majority of the residents in the Northern Regions; North-Central (43%) North-East (38%) and North-West (38%)) have not had malaria over the past 12 month while the Southern Regions; South-South (77%), South-East (75%) and South-West (64%) have the largest percentage of respondents who have had Malaria more than once over the last 12 months.  This disparity between geo-political zones is perhaps due to the greater presence of rivers, seas and lakes in the South where mosquitoes are prevalent; while the North is mostly land locked.

The second question was asked to ascertain how malaria is treated when respondents are infected: How do you treat malaria when you have it?  In reaction to this question, nationwide results show that the majority (44%) of the respondents visit the hospital to see a doctor when they have malaria. This is followed by 38% who simply buy medicine from the pharmacy or chemist. Furthermore, 13% said they make use of native herbs such as DogonyaroAgbo, Neem leaves and Lemon grass; while 4% said they do not use any medicine at all. 

 

Looking at the results in more detail, Females are more likely to visit a hospital than males, as a greater proportion of male respondents simply visit the pharmacy to buy malaria medicines or opt for native herbs, than females. Analysis along regions shows that majority of the residents in the Southern regions self-medicate versus the Northern regions that go to the hospital.  An in-depth view along results indicate that  the North-West has the highest proportion (71%) of respondents that claim to visit the hospital, while the South-East has the highest percentage (52%) that simply buy malaria medicine from the pharmacy also the South-West has the highest proportion of respondents (19%) that use native herbs.

Subsequently, respondents were asked the following question regarding HIV/AIDS: In Your opinion, how do people get HIV/AIDS? For this question, respondents were encouraged to mention all possible causes they were aware of. From the results, the majority of respondents (86%) are of the opinion that HIV/AIDS can be contacted through sexual intercourse; while 64% are of the opinion that it can be contacted through the sharing of sharp objects. A further 41% mentioned blood transfusions; with some respondents stating that HIV/AIDS can be transmitted through mosquito bites (1%) and through deep kissing (3%). 

The Fourth question asked was to ascertain how much respondents agree with assertion made by international organisations such as the United Nations (UN) and World Health Organisation (WHO) that HIV/AIDS is currently a critical health challenge in Nigeria. Respondents were asked: To what extent do you agree or disagree that HIV/AIDS is a critical health challenge in Nigeria? Overall, the overwhelming majority (90%: 33% + 57%) agree with the assertion that HIV/AIDS is a critical health challenge in Nigeria. A further 7% neither agree nor disagree; while only 3% disagree with this assertion. 

Interestingly, when analysed across geo-political zones, the South-South has the highest proportion of respondents (55%) that strongly agree with the assertion that HIV/AIDS is a critical health challenge; while the South-East has the highest percentage that agree (68%).

The next question was asked to gauge the level of stigmatization towards people living with HIV/AIDS.  Respondents were asked: Personally, would you become friends or remain friends with someone living with HIV/AIDS? The majority of respondents (85%) responded affirmatively indicating that they would become friends or remain friends with someone living with HIV/AIDS; while 15% of the respondents responded negatively. 

Furthermore, when analyzed in more detail, the results show that more females than males are likely to become or remain friends with someone living with HIV/AIDS. The North-East has the highest proportion of respondents that responded negatively indicating they would not become friends or remain friends with someone living with HIV/AIDS.

Finally, respondents were asked the following: Which of the following do you think will help greatly to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria? Respondents were encouraged to mention as many options that could help reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS. The majority overall (51%) said that better sensitization and media programs to increase awareness would help reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS; followed by 41% who mentioned better implementation of government health programs by providing free/cheaper/good drugs. Other suggestions to the reduce incidence of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria include more HIV testing centers (24%), prevention of mother to child transmission (15%) and provision of employment for the youth (2%). 

In conclusion, almost 7 in 10 Nigerians (66%) have had malaria at least once during the past 1 year and mainly treat it by going to the hospital to see a doctor;  although a significant proportion simply visit the pharmacy to buy medicine or treat the ailment with local herbs. Also, results show that most Nigerians are aware of the ways in which the main methods in which people generally contact HIV/AIDS. However, a minority still have misconceptions such as the fact that it is transmitted by mosquito bites or deep kissing. Furthermore, the level of stigma towards people living with HIV/AIDS seems to be reducing since most Nigerians claim they are willing to become friends or remain friends with people infected with HIV/AIDS.

Finally, the main suggestions that respondents have for the government to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria is to provide better sensitization and media programs to increase awareness and better implementation of government health programs to provide free/cheaper/good drugs.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted on April 8th to 10th 2013. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,014 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 3%. NOI Polls Limited is Nigeria’s leading opinion polling and research organisation, which works in technical partnership with the Gallup Organisation (USA), to conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com

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