Community intervention to promote rational treatment of acute respiratory infection in rural Nepal

Kathleen A. Holloway, Shiba B. Karkee, Ashalal Tamang, Yam Bahadur Gurung, Kumud K. Kafle, Ramesh Pradhan, Barnaby C. Reeves

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17 Scopus citations


Objective To evaluate a community education program about treatment of acute respiratory infection (ARI). Methods First, community case definitions for severe and mild ARI were developed. The intervention was then evaluated using a controlled before-and-after design. Household surveys collected data about ARI treatment in 20 clusters, each based around a school and health facility. Treatment indicators included percentages of cases attending health facilities and receiving antibiotics. The intervention consisted of an education program in schools culminating in street theater performances, discussions with mothers after performances and training for community leaders and drug retailers by paramedics. The intervention was conducted in mid-2003. Indicators were measured before the intervention in Nov/Dec 2002 and again in Dec 2003/Jan 2004. Results Two thousand and seven hundred and nineteen households were surveyed and 3654 under-fives were identified, of whom 377 had severe ARI. After implementing the intervention, health post (HP) attendance rose by 13% in under-fives with severe ARI and fell by 9% in under-fives with mild ARI (test of interaction, P = 0.01). Use of prescribed antibiotics increased in under-fives with severe ARI by 21% but only by 1% in under-fives with mild ARI (test of interaction, P = 0.38). Irrespective of ARI severity, the use of non-prescribed antibiotics dropped by 5% (P = 0.002), and consultation with female community health volunteers (FCHVs)and use of safe home remedies increased by 6.7% (P not estimated) and 5.7% (P = 0.008) respectively. Conclusion The intervention was implemented using local structures and in difficult circumstances, yet had a moderate impact. Thus it has the potential to effect large scale changes in behaviour and merits replication elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-110
Number of pages10
JournalTropical Medicine and International Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute respiratory infection
  • Education intervention
  • Nepal
  • Under-fives
  • Use of antibiotics


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