Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #411

Biting Back at Malaria – Self-Medication, Traditional Healers, and the Public Sector

by Alfredo Paloyo and Arndt R. Reichert

RWI, 04/2013, 29 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-466-2 DOI: 10.4419/86788466



Malaria kills about 1,500 children every day. Based on the Demographic and Health Surveys, we examine malaria treatment practices of various health care providers in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 90 percent of the world’s deaths due to malaria occur. To assess the quality of each health care provider (including, among others, public health centers and traditional healers), we estimate the likelihood of providers to administer ineffective antimalarial drugs such as chloroquine in areas of known resistance, and to relieve children of malaria symptoms after having had fever within the last two weeks. Our results indicate that relative to self-medication, seeking treatment at most providers significantly increases the likelihood to take any antimalarial drug and decreases the likelihood to use chloroquine. Traditional healers do not exert any effect.

JEL-Classification: I11, I14, O15, O57

Keywords: Quality of care; health care providers; health inequalities; malaria; sub-Saharan Africa; child health