Intermittent Preventive Therapy and Treatment of Malaria during Pregnancy: A Study of Knowledge among Pregnant Women in Rufiji District, Southern Tanzania
Purpose: To assess the knowledge and awareness of pregnant women regarding the use of sulfadoxinepyrimethamine (SP) for intermittent preventive therapy (IPT) and artemether-lumefantrine (ALu) for treatment
of malaria during pregnancy.
Methods: The study was conducted in Rufiji district, southern Tanzania from March 2011 to September 2011. Four hundred and seventy (470) pregnant women in their second and third trimesters were interviewed when
attending antenatal clinics at the selected hospitals, health centers and dispensaries. Focus group discussions (FGDs) were also conducted with 46 pregnant women at the health facilities in the district.
Results: More than half (54.3 %) of pregnant women did not know if SP it was used for IPT. Most women (76.6 %) did not know the use of SP for IPT in relationship with gestation age. Overall, the results show that most women had very low knowledge about the use of SP for IPT. Forty three (9.1 %) pregnant women reported to have had malaria during their current pregnancies. The antimalarials reported to be used by pregnant women were quinine 18(42.9 %), SP (23.8 %), ALu (21.4%) and sulphamethoxyprazinepyrimethamine (2.4%). Irrespective of the gestation age of pregnancy, almost all (98.3 %) pregnant women perceived ALu as unsafe drug to be used during pregnancy.
Conclusion: Most pregnant women had minimum knowledge about the use and benefits of SP for IPT and ALu for treatment of malaria during pregnancy. Some erroneous beliefs about the safety of ALu during pregnancy were also identified among pregnant women. For effective implementation of IPT policy and treatment of malaria during pregnancy, pregnant women should be sensitized and educated on the use and
benefits of antimalarial drugs.
Keywords: Artemether-lumefantrine, Antenatal clinic, Knowledge, Pregnant women, Sulfadoxinepyrimethamine