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
AbstractKnowledge, 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.