Malaria and insecticide-treated nets usage among under-five year-old children in Argungu, Kebbi State, north-west Nigeria
Malaria remains a major cause of higher mortality rate in Africa especially among children under-five years of age and the pregnant women. Insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) have proven to be the most effective means of reducing malaria infection in these categories. A community-based study was conducted to determine the usage of ITNs among children under-five years of age in Argungu, Kebbi State, among 288 ITNs-owning households. A semi-structured questionnaire was used in obtaining households information from the heads of the household based on sociodemographic characteristics of the head of the households and to assess the effectiveness of ITNs in reducing malaria infection. Determination of malaria parasite among the under-five years children was through the use of Rapid Diagnatic Test Kits (RDTs). Out of the 288 households, ITNs were used in 192 (66.7%). Usage were more among households with tertiary level of education (72.78%) and less in the illiterate households (59.3%); and was most in family size consisting of more than ten members and less in those with 6-10 members. Overall prevalence of malaria infection among children under-five years of age was 29.2%, males were more infected (36.1%) than females (25.0%). Infection generally increases with increase in age. Prevalence was more among non-ITNs users (40.6%) compared to ITNs users (23.4%). Insecticide-treated nets if properly used will lead to decline in malaria infection among under- five children in the study area.
Keywords: malaria, ITNs, RDTs, children, Kebbi State.