Knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding malaria and mosquito net use among women seeking antenatal care in Iringa, south-western Tanzania
To improve control measures against malaria, Tanzania has increased the distribution of free and subsidized insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) to pregnant women. However, data on knowledge, attitudes and practices of these women regarding malaria are scarce. This study was carried out to describe knowledge, attitudes and practices towards malaria, mosquito net ownership and use among women seeking antenatal care at Iringa Regional Hospital in south-western Tanzania. The study involved women attending the antenatal clinic of the hospital. A pre-tested structured questionnaire was applied to collect information on socio-demographic characteristics, mosquito net ownership and use, as well as knowledge, attitudes and practices about malaria and its control. Among the 222 pregnant women included, 173 (78%, 95%CI, 72-84.2) owned a mosquito net, and 150 (68%, 95%CI, 61-75) reported to sleep always under a mosquito net. The use of mosquito nets was mentioned by 142 (64%, 95%CI, 56.2-72). Of the 46 women who did not own a mosquito net, seven (15.2%) reported cost as the main obstacle for owning one. About 53% (95%CI, 44-62) preferred to use mosquito nets they bought rather than the one provided for free. Several factors such as gravidity, fearing of getting malaria, knowledge on the cause, marital status, and ways used to prevent malaria were significantly associated with mosquito net ownership (all P<0.001). Education level and gravidity were associated with the behaviour to sleep always under mosquito nets (P<0.002). Multigravidae (2-4 pregnancies) (OR 2.1, 95%CI 1.2-4.8) and married women (OR, 1.9, 95%CI, 1.2-5.2) were more likely to own a net, as compared to primigravidae and single women. In conclusion, reported ITNs ownership and use among pregnant women was good and they preferred to use the nets they bought themselves.