Knowledge and Practice of Malaria Prevention among Pregnant Women

Knowledge and Practice of Malaria Prevention among Pregnant Women in Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi State

ABSTRACT

The study assessed the knowledge and practice of malaria prevention among pregnant women in Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki of Ebonyi State. Three objectives guided the study which includes: to ascertain the level of knowledge of pregnant women about the causes of malaria, to determine the malaria preventive methods mostly practiced by the mother and to ascertain the factors that hinder the mothers from adopting the preventive measures in Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki of Ebonyi State. Related literature were reviewed and summarized. A descriptive research designs were used for the study. The study population comprised of 106 pregnant women. 84 pregnant women were selected through systematic sampling technique. A self-structured questionnaire validated by the project supervisor is the only instrument used for data collection. Data collected were analyzed with the use of frequency distribution tables and charts. The result of the study shows that the pregnant women have high level of knowledge about the causes of malaria, 72(86%) said the use of drugs is the method majorly put in practice and 62(74%) said they don’t remember to take the anti-malarial drugs and next 52(62%) said the insecticide treated nets is not readily available. Based on the findings, it was recommended that Adequate health education should be given to the pregnant mothers and nursing mothers on the importance of malaria prevention to them and their children and also compliance to their anti-malarial prophylactic drugs.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bite of infected mosquito (WHO, 2010). It is a mosquito borne infectious disease caused by a eukaryotic protist of the genus plasmodium. According to Snow, Guerra, Noor (2006) approximately half of the world’s populations, especially those living in low income earning countries are affected. Malaria causes over 250 million cases of fever and approximately 1 million deaths annually (WHO, 2008). It is presently endemic in a land around the equator in areas of the Americans, many parts of Asia and much of Africa. It is more common in rural than in urban areas (CDC, 2010).

In Africa, 30 million women living in malaria endemic areas become pregnant each year (WHO, 2008). For the unborn child, maternal malaria increases the risk of spontaneous abortion, still-birth, premature delivery and low birth weight- a leading cause of child mortality (WHO, 2008).

Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites which are spread to people through the bites of infected anopheles mosquitoes. The malaria vectors usually bite between dusk and dawn due to their nocturnal feeding habits (centre for disease control and prevention (CDC), 2010). There are four species of plasmodium: Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium malariae. P. falciparum is the most deadly. In recent years, some human cases of malaria has also occurred with plasmodium knowlesi, a monkey malaria that occurs in certain forested areas of south-east Asia and is potentially fatal (Figtree, Lee & Bain, 2010).

Malaria is transmitted exclusively through the bites of anopheles mosquitoes. The intensity of transmission depends on factors related to the parasite, the vector, the human host and the environment (WHO, 2010). The World Health Organization also stated, in 2010, that malaria is present in 108 countries and territories in 2008 and the specific population at-risk includes young children (under 5) non-immune pregnant women, semi-immune  pregnant women etc.

Every year, between 75,000 and 200,000 infant deaths are attributed to malaria infection in pregnancy globally and between 200,000 and 500,000 pregnant women develop severe anaemia as a result of malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa (WHO, 2008).

Pregnant compared to non-pregnant women, are at an increased risk of malaria and the severity of the clinical manifestation in the woman and fetus depends on the level of pre-pregnancy immunity. Malaria infection in pregnancy can be reduced by preventing mosquito bites through distribution of inexpensive insecticides treated nets and insect repellants or mosquito control measures such as spraying insecticides inside houses, drainage of stagnant water and environmental sanitation around the houses. Prophylactic anti-malarial drugs should also be administered antenatally and Artemisinine derivatives can also be given in severe malaria (Don-drop and day, 2007).

Statement of the Problem

Malaria is a major illness in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, with pregnant women being potentially at risk due to the physiological changes associated with their condition. This imposes a great burden to the country in terms of difficulties and trauma suffered by the victims, which may result in severe complications and at times, maternal and neonatal mortality, as well as loss of output and cost of treatment.

The disease has impacted negatively on the economy with about 132 billion naira lost to the disease as cost of treatment and loss in man-hours. It is highly endemic in Nigeria. It poses a major challenge to the country as it impedes human development. It is both a cause and consequences of under development and remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the country.

Based on this, the researcher intends to ascertain the knowledge of pregnant women most especially about the cause and prevention of the condition and their practice of malaria prevention in order to have healthy life devoid of malaria infection.

 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to investigate on the knowledge and practice of malaria prevention among pregnant women in Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.

 Research Objectives of the Study

The specific objectives of this study are as follows:

  • To ascertain the level of knowledge of pregnant women about the causes of malaria in Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
  • To determine the malaria preventive methods mostly practiced by the mother in Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
  • To ascertain the factors that hinders the mothers from adopting the preventive measures in Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.

Significance of the Study

The study is of great benefit in the following ways:

  • This study will throw more light on the knowledge and practice of malaria prevention among pregnant mothers who attend antenatal clinic in Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki.
  • The result of the study will create awareness that malaria prevention is the most successful method of decreasing the incidence of malaria infection in pregnancy in the community and country as a whole.
  • The study will enable the mothers to know the part they are to play in preventing malaria.
  • This study will increase their knowledge on the causes and prevention of malaria.
  • The result of this study will also help in bringing to the attention of Ministries of Health and other Non-Governmental Organizations the need to supply more insecticide treated nets and prophylactic anti-malaria drugs to such communities, like Abakaliki, where they might need them.

Research Questions

The following research questions have been raised with the view to help the researcher determine the knowledge and practice of malaria prevention among pregnant women in Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.

  • What is the level of knowledge the pregnant women possess about malaria and its causes?
  • What are the measures mostly practiced by the mothers in the prevention of malaria?
  • What factors hinders the mothers from adopting malaria preventive measures?

Scope of the Study

The scope is delimited to pregnant women who attend antenatal clinic in Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.

Operational Definition of Terms

Knowledge: The state of being aware about a particular fact or situation.

Practice: Performance to do something regularly as part of your normal behavior.

Malaria: Illness characterized by fever, general malaise and body aches following the bites of mosquito.

Prevention: The act of stopping something bad from happening

Pregnant women: Mature female carrying fetus (unborn child).

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

This chapter deals with a review of related literature on the topic which was done under the following headings:

  • Overview of malaria
  • The knowledge and practice of malaria prevention among pregnant women.
  • Theory related to the Study
  • Empirical review on the Study
  • Summary of Literature Review

Overview of Malaria

According to Park (2007) malaria is a protozoal disease caused by infection with parasites of the genus plasmodium and transmitted to man by certain species of infected female anopheles mosquito. It was conceptualized that malaria is a serious notifiable infectious illness characterized by periodic chills, fever, sweating and splenomegaly. Parry (2012) defined malaria in men as infection with Plasmodium falciparum, P. malariae, P. vivax or P. ovale.

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