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The socioeconomic and sociodemographic situation are important components for the design and assessment of malaria control measures. In malaria endemic areas, however, valid classification of socioeconomic factors is difficult due to the lack of standardized tax and income data. The objective of this study was to quantify household socioeconomic levels using principal component analyses (PCA) to a set of indicator variables and to use a classification scheme for the multivariate analysis of children <15 years of age presented with and without malaria to an outpatient department of a rural hospital.
In total, 1,496 children presenting to the hospital were examined for malaria parasites and interviewed with a standardized questionnaire. The information of eleven indicators of the family's housing situation was reduced by PCA to a socioeconomic score, which was then classified into three socioeconomic status (poor, average and rich). Their influence on the malaria occurrence was analysed together with malaria risk co-factors, such as sex, parent's educational and ethnic background, number of children living in a household, applied malaria protection measures, place of residence and age of the child and the mother.
The multivariate regression analysis demonstrated that the proportion of children with malaria decreased with increasing socioeconomic status as classified by PCA (p<0.05). Other independent factors for malaria risk were the use of malaria protection measures (p<0.05), the place of residence (p<0.05), and the age of the child (p<0.05).
The socioeconomic situation is significantly associated with malaria even in holoendemic rural areas where economic differences are not much pronounced. Valid classification of the socioeconomic level is crucial to be considered as confounder in intervention trials and in the planning of malaria control measures.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Malaria journal
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Factors that can cause or prevent the outcome of interest, are not intermediate variables, and are not associated with the factor(s) under investigation. They give rise to situations in which the effects of two processes are not separated, or the contribution of causal factors cannot be separated, or the measure of the effect of exposure or risk is distorted because of its association with other factors influencing the outcome of the study.
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