Malaria prevention and care seeking among gold miners in Guyana

Bolanle Olapeju*, Camille Adams, Gabrielle Hunter, Sean Wilson, Joann Simpson, Lyndsey Mitchum, Trishann Davis, Jennifer Orkis, Horace Cox, Neil Trotman, Helen Imhoff, Douglas Storey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Despite being a priority population in malaria elimination, there is scant literature on malariarelated behavior among gold miners. This study explores the prevalence and factors influencing malaria prevention, care seeking and treatment behaviors in Guyana gold mining camps. A cross sectional survey was conducted among adult gold miners living in mining camps in the hinterland Regions 1 (Barima-Waini), 7 (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), and 8 (Potaro- Siparuni). Multivariable logistic regressions explored factors associated with miners' selfreport of mosquito net use, prompt care-seeking; self-medication; and testing for malaria. A third of miners used a mosquito net the night preceding the survey and net use was higher among those who believed that net use was the norm in their camp (aOR: 3.11; 95% CI:1.65, 5.88). Less than half (45%) of miners had a fever in the past 12 months, among whom 36% sought care promptly, 48% tested positive for malaria while 54% self-medicated before seeking care. Prompt care-seeking was higher among miners with high malaria knowledge (aOR: 1.44; 95% CI: 1.01, 2.05). Similarly, testing rates increased with secondary education (aOR: 1.71; 95% CI: (1.16, 2.51), high malaria knowledge (aOR: 1.45; 95% CI: 1.02, 2.05), positive beliefs regarding malaria transmission, threat, self-diagnosis, testing and treatment, and, trust in government services (aOR: 1.59; 95% CI (1.12, 2.27) and experience of a prior malaria episode (aOR: 2.62; 95% CI: 1.71, 4.00). Self-medication was lower among male miners (aOR: 0. 52; 95% CI: 0.32, 0.86). Malaria prevention and care seeking behaviors among miners are somewhat low and influenced by mosquito net usage, perceived norms, malaria knowledge and prior episode of confirmed malaria. Study findings have implications for malaria interventions in the hinterland regions of Guyana such as the mass and continuous distribution of insecticide treated nets as well as community case management initiatives using trained malaria testing and treatment volunteers to curb malaria transmission among remote gold mining populations. These include efforts to identify and address gaps in distributing mosquito nets to miners and address miners' barriers to prompt care seeking, malaria testing and treatment adherence. Targeted social and behavior change messaging is needed on net acquisition, use and care, prompt care-seeking, malaria testing and treatment adherence. Additional efforts to ensure the overall sustainability of the community case management initiative include increased publicity of the community case management initiative among miners, use of incentives to promote retention rates among the community case management volunteer testers and public private partnerships between the Guyana Ministry of Health and relevant mining organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0244454
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12 December
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Malaria prevention and care seeking among gold miners in Guyana'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this