Malaria and fish farming in the Brazilian Amazon Region: a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis

Abstract INTRODUCTION: The fish farming program in Acre is as an alternative program to generate income and employment and has promising regional, national, and international markets. While the economic importance of fish farming in the Jurua Region is clear, one must address its contribution to increase malaria transmission. METHODS This was a qualitative study. The answers of the 16 key informants were organized into the following: (1) the healthcare services structure; (2) conscience, perception, and behaviors; and (3) socioeconomic and political issues. Each answer was classified as weaknesses, strengths, opportunities, and threats. RESULTS Regarding healthcare services, the frequency of household visits was reduced, and subjects presenting with malaria symptoms were required to visit a healthcare unit to be diagnosed and treated. Regarding individual’s conscience, perception, and behavior, malaria was considered an insignificant disease, and a large proportion of the population were engaged in health practices that put them at risk in contacting with malaria vectors. Regarding political and economic issues, there were economic and infrastructure barriers for the development of a productive activity, and the insufficient credit or formalization of their properties prevented their access to governmental incentives and the financial market. CONCLUSIONS Support to fish farmers for low-cost inputs was not observed, and appropriate knowledge regarding the impact of the absence of maintenance and abandonment of fish tanks was insufficient. Moreover, insufficient healthcare services prevented not only the treatment of individuals with malaria but also the control of this disease.