Assessing the ownership, usage and knowledge of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNS) in malaria prevention in the Hohoe Municipality, Ghana
Introduction: Malaria remains one of the top five killer diseases in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and its burden is skewed towards pregnant women and children under five. Insecticide Treated Bed-Net (ITN) usage is considered one of the most cost-effective, preventive interventions against malaria. This study sought to assess ownership, usage, effectiveness, knowledge, access and availability of ITNs among mothers with children under five in the Hohoe municipality.
Methods: in August 2010 a cross-sectional survey was carried out in 30 communities, selected using the WHO 30 cluster sampling technique. In the selected communities, mothers/caregivers with children under five years were selected using the snowball method. Data were collected through questionnaires and direct observation of ITN. Descriptive statistics was used to analyse the data
Results: A total of 450 mothers/caregivers were interviewed and their mean age was 30 ± 7 years. ITN ownership was 81.3%, and usage was 66.4%. The majority (97.8%) of the mothers/caregivers said ITNs were effective for malaria prevention. Awareness about ITNs was high (98.7%) and the majority (52.9%) had heard about ITNs from Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) Clinic and antenatal care ANC clinic (33.6%). Over 60% of the ITNs were acquired through free distribution at RCH clinics, clinic and home distribution during mass immunization sessions. The majority of the mothers/caregivers (78.6%) knew the signs and symptoms of malaria, what causes malaria (82.2%) and who is most at risk (90%).
Conclusion: Behaviour change communication strategies on ITN use may need to be further targeted to ensure full use of available ITNs.