Document Type : Original Article
Primary Health Care Corporation, Doha, Qatar
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Weil Cornell Medicine, Doha, Qatar
Community Medicine Residency Program, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
Ministry of Public Health, Doha, Qatar
Introduction: Malaria is among the most significant travel-related infections encountered by travelers to endemic countries in terms of morbidity and mortality. In Qatar, imported malaria has increased over the last 5 years; 493 travel-related cases were confirmed in 2016. In the current study, the knowledge of malaria chemoprophylaxis among physicians in the State of Qatar was assessed.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted during a national travel health workshop at the Ministry of Public Health, Qatar. Physicians participating in the workshop from different national healthcare institutions providing travel medicine services were invited to voluntarily complete a self-administered, structured questionnaire.
Results: Forty-two medical doctors participated in the study (92 response rate). Based on their specialty, almost two-thirds (64.3%) of the participants were family medicine physicians, and one-fifth (21.43%) were general practitioners. Furthermore, most of the doctors were untrained in travel medicine. The majority of participants demonstrated a good knowledge of the malaria parasite (100%), Plasmodium species (64.3%), incidence (83.3%), transmission (66.7%), and drug-resistance (95.2%) of malaria. Additionally, most physicians (>90) were knowledgeable about the major features of severe or complicated malaria as well as malaria prevention and chemoprophylaxis.
Conclusion: This study highlights several areas of good knowledge on travel-related malaria prophylaxis and prevention among the study participants; however, there are still a few knowledge gaps that require mitigation. Continuing training programs on malaria prevention in travelers will sustain this good level of knowledge among physicians and improve the quality of pre-travel advice provided by travel medicine practitioners in Qatar.