Utilization of Intermittent Preventive Treatment of Malaria by Pregnant Women in Rivers State, Nigeria

Charles I Tobin-West, Eme O Asuquo


Objectives: This study was conducted to assess the level of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) in Rivers State, Nigeria, to identify obstacles prohibiting utilization in order to make recommendations for improved uptake and malaria control in general.

Methods: A cross‑sectional study was carried out in November 2008 among 339 pregnant women and those who had delivered children in the last 1 year, using a multistage sampling method. Data were analyzed using the Epi‑Info version 6.04d statistical software package and hypothesis tests were conducted to compare summary statistics at 95% significance level.

Results: Most of the respondents (76.4%) had knowledge that malaria was caused by mosquitoes and was harmful in pregnancy. Although majority of the pregnant women (80.8%) attended antenatal care clinics, knowledge of the correct use of SP was low (32.6%) and only 62.8% took malaria preventive treatment. Of these, 58.4% took SP, while nearly a third, 31.8%, took chloroquine. Only 16.4% took their SP at the health facility directly observed by health workers according to the national guidelines. The commonest reason for not preventing malaria was that they were not sick during the period of pregnancy.

Conclusions: Misconceptions about IPTp persist among women known to have attended antenatal care clinics, resulting in only a minority of pregnant women receiving IPTp as recommended by national guidelines. Efforts directed at awareness creation on the new malaria prevention and treatment policy are therefore necessary to enhance the uptake of IPT in pregnancy in Rivers State. Further studies are however, needed to evaluate the knowledge and practices of health care workers on the new malaria treatment policy.

Keywords: Intermittent preventive treatment, malaria in pregnancy, Nigeria

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