Utilization of malaria prophylaxes amongst Nigerian Urban antenatal population
Background: The recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) towards preventing malaria and its effects in pregnancy is the utilization of a combination of interventions such as sleeping under insecticide treated nets (ITNs), Intermittent Preventive Treatment in pregnancy (IPTp), insecticide room spraying (IRS) and effective case management and treatment. All these strategies have been adopted in Nigeria through a national policy on malaria treatment and prophylaxis. Despite these interventions, the high prevalence of malaria in pregnancy continues to rise in Nigeria, with the attendant cost in human lives and economic loss1,2. There is therefore need to determine the level of public awareness and utilization of these preventive measures. The objective of this study was to determine the knowledge and the use of known interventions towards preventing malaria in pregnancy prior to registration for antenatal care.
Methods: Four hundred women were recruited by simple random sampling for this study. They were interviewed using a semistructured questionnaire to obtain information on their socio-demographic characteristics, their pregnancy, knowledge on malaria and its prophylaxis in pregnancy.
Results: Many (51.6%) of the respondents registered for antenatal care after 20 weeks of gestation. Though majority (79.8%) rightly associated malaria with mosquito bite, only a few (15. 75%) of the respondents had ever used insecticide treated nets to prevent mosquito bites in their lifetime and only 1% used it the night before joining this study. About 27.5% of them were already on self-administered malaria chemoprophylaxis before registration.
Conclusion: Over one half of these women register late for antenatal care. The attitude of the pregnant women towards malaria prevention prior to registration for antenatal care is poor even though they have adequate knowledge of the cause of malaria and its prevention.
Keywords: Malaria Prophylaxis; Insecticide Treated Bed Nets; Antenatal Population; Sulphodoxine-Pyrimethamine
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