How much can a KAP survey tell us about people's knowledge, attitudes and practices? Some observations from medical anthropology research on malaria in pregnancy in Malawi

  • Annika Launiala University of Tampere and University of Kuopio, Finland

Abstract

Knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) surveys are widely used to gather information for planning public health programmes in countries in the South. However, there is rarely any discussion about the usefulness of KAP surveys in providing appropriate data for project planning, and about the various challenges of conducting surveys in different settings. The aim of this article is two-fold: to discuss the appropriateness of KAP surveys in understanding and exploring health-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices, and to describe some of the major challenges encountered in planning and conducting a KAP survey in a specific setting. Practical examples are drawn from a medical anthropology study on socio-cultural factors affecting treatment and prevention of malaria in pregnancy in rural Malawi, southern Africa. The article presents issues that need to be critically assessed and taken into account when planning a KAP survey.

Author Biography

Annika Launiala, University of Tampere and University of Kuopio, Finland
Annika Launiala holds an MA in Cultural Anthropology and is currently working as a project manager on a multidisciplinary project called "Multicultural aspects of Health" at the School of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, University of Kuopio, Finland. She is also working on her PhD research concerning socio-cultural factors affecting treatment and prevention of malaria in pregnancy in rural Malawi. She can be contacted at annika.launiala(AT)uta.fi or at annika.launiala(AT)uku.fi.