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Foul wind, spirits and witchcraft: illness conceptions and health-seeking behaviour for malaria in the Gambia

Overview of attention for article published in Malaria Journal, April 2015
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (88th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
6 tweeters


26 Dimensions

Readers on

124 Mendeley
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Foul wind, spirits and witchcraft: illness conceptions and health-seeking behaviour for malaria in the Gambia
Published in
Malaria Journal, April 2015
DOI 10.1186/s12936-015-0687-2
Pubmed ID

Sarah O’Neill, Charlotte Gryseels, Susan Dierickx, Julia Mwesigwa, Joseph Okebe, Umberto d’Alessandro, Koen Peeters Grietens


As the disease burden in the Gambia has reduced considerably over the last decade, heterogeneity in malaria transmission has become more marked, with infected but asymptomatic individuals maintaining the reservoir. The identification, timely diagnosis and treatment of malaria-infected individuals are crucial to further reduce or eliminate the human parasite reservoir. This ethnographic study focused on the relationship between local beliefs of the cause of malaria and treatment itineraries of suspected cases. An ethnographic qualitative study was conducted in twelve rural communities in the Upper River Region and the Central River Region in the Gambia. The data collection methods included in-depth interviews, participant observation, informal conversations, and focus group discussions. While at first glance, the majority of people seek biomedical treatment for 'malaria', there are several constraints to seeking treatment at health centres. Certain folk illnesses, such as Jontinooje and Kajeje, translated and interpreted as 'malaria' by healthcare professionals, are often not considered to be malaria by local populations but rather as self-limiting febrile illnesses - consequently not leading to seeking care in the biomedical sector. Furthermore, respondents reported delaying treatment at a health centre while seeking financial resources, and consequently relying on herbal treatments. In addition, when malaria cases present symptoms, such as convulsions, hallucinations and/or loss of consciousness, the illness is often interpreted as having a supernatural aetiology, leading to diagnosis and treatment by traditional healers. Although malaria diagnostics and treatment-seeking in the biomedical sector has been reported to be relatively high in the Gambia compared to other sub-Saharan African countries, local symptom interpretation and illness conceptions can delay or stop people from seeking timely biomedical treatment, which may contribute to maintaining a parasite reservoir of undiagnosed and untreated malaria patients.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 6 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 124 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 1 <1%
South Africa 1 <1%
Unknown 122 98%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Postgraduate 25 20%
Student > Master 21 17%
Student > Ph. D. Student 19 15%
Student > Bachelor 15 12%
Researcher 11 9%
Other 18 15%
Unknown 15 12%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 54 44%
Social Sciences 16 13%
Nursing and Health Professions 9 7%
Psychology 8 6%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 4 3%
Other 14 11%
Unknown 19 15%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 13. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 17 April 2021.
All research outputs
of 19,736,584 outputs
Outputs from Malaria Journal
of 5,124 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 240,825 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Malaria Journal
of 1 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 19,736,584 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 90th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 5,124 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a little more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 6.3. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 91% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 240,825 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 88% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them