Date of Conferral





Public Health


Dr. Tolulope Osoba


Malaria is the main cause of mortality for children under the age of 5 in Burundi. The access to malaria diagnostics and treatment is hampered not only because of logistical issues, but also due to the lack of qualified human resources and their inequitable distribution across the country. To mitigate the lack of human resources for health, the government of Burundi, along with its partners, shifted some tasks to community health workers (CHWs) to cover unmet healthcare needs for selected diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the social support provided to CHWs had an impact on morbidity due to malaria for children under the age of 5. The social networks and social support theoretical framework was used to explore the type of social support received by CHWs and its impact on the number of children treated. The 88 CHWs who participated in this cross sectional survey, were randomly selected from a pool of 719 CHWs who were part of a pilot project that was implemented in the districts of Gahombo, Gashoho, and Mabayi, from 2011 to 2014. The study findings showed mixed results with a positive correlation between the instrumental support received and the number of children under the age of 5 treated. However, a statistically significant correlation was not established between the emotional, informational, and appraisal support received and the number of children under the age of 5 treated. The positive social change implications of the study include providing evidence to build and enhance human resource capacity for improving the health of children living in Burundi, an under-resourced country, through the development of a support package that can be offered to CHWs to help them perform their duties in a more effective way.