Assessment of Knowledge, Interventional Practices for, and Impact of Malaria in Pregnancy among Parturient Women in a Nigerian Tertiary Healthcare Facility
Purpose: To assess knowledge of and intervention for malaria in pregnancy among immediate postpartum women, as well as the impact of malaria on some specific birth outcomes.
Methods: A cross-sectional study in which 358 immediate postpartum women were recruited in the labour and maternity wards of University Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria. Information on demographics, knowledge of malaria, and utilization of malaria interventions were assessed. Immediately after expulsion of placentae, both maternal and placental blood samples were collected from a subset (236) of the study group for parasitaemia and haematocrit determination.
Results: The mean age of the women was 29.5 ± 4.55 years. Poor knowledge of adverse effects of malaria during pregnancy was observed. Using an arbitrary scale, low, average and high knowledge of malaria were recorded in 22.4, 50.3 and 27.3 % of the respondents, respectively. Use of insecticidetreated net (ITN) was reported by 48.9, 19.1 and 14.3 % of women with high, average and low knowledge of malaria respectively (p = 0.004) while there was no statistical difference in the use of sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP) among the different levels of knowledge of malaria as its practice was reported by 61, 70 and 78.7 % of women with high, average, and low knowledge of malaria, respectively, (p = 0.078). Incidence rates of parasitaemia of 4.0, 1.6 and 6.25 % were obtained using peripheral microscopy, placental microscopy and peripheral rapid diagnostic test (RDT), respectively. Maternal infection was significantly associated with low birth weight (p = 0.020, peripheral microscopy; p = 0.020, placental microscopy) and maternal anaemia (p = 0.009, peripheral microscopy; p = 0.000, peripheral RDT).
Conclusion: Knowledge gap still exists with regard to malaria and its interventions among mothers. Knowledge of malaria significantly influences the use of insecticide-treated bed nets. The negative impact of malaria infection during pregnancy is maternal anaemia and low birth weight infants.
Keywords: Insecticide-treated bed nets, Low birth weight, Malaria in pregnancy, Maternal anaemia.