Malaria in pregnancy is a crucial public health concern due to the enormous risk it poses to maternal and newborn health. The World Health Organisation therefore recommends insecticide-treated net (ITN) for pregnant women. The world over, sub-Saharan Africa bears the highest prevalence of malaria and its associated complications. This study investigated the individual, community and society level factors associated with ITN use among pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa.
The study was conducted with Demographic and Health Survey data of 21 sub-Saharan African countries. A total of 17,731 pregnant women who possessed ITN participated in the study. Descriptive computation of ITN use by survey country and socio-demographic characteristics was conducted. Further, five multi-level binary logistic regression models were fitted with MLwiN 3.05 package in STATA. The Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) estimation procedure was used in estimating the parameters whilst the Bayesian Deviance Information Criterion was used for the model fitness test.
On average, 74.2% pregnant women in SSA used ITN. The highest prevalence of ITN use occurred in Mali (83.7%) whilst the least usage occurred in Namibia (7%). Women aged 30–34 were more likely to use ITN compared with those aged 45–49 [aOR = 1.14; Crl = 1.07–1.50]. Poorest women were less probable to use ITN relative to richest women [aOR = 0.79; Crl = 0.70–0.89]. Compared to women who did not want their pregnancies at all, women who wanted their pregnancies [aOR = 1.06; Crl = 1.04–1.19] were more probable to use ITN. Women in male-headed households had higher likelihood of ITN use compared to those from female-headed households [aOR = 1.28; Crl = 1.19–1.39]. On the whole, 38.1% variation in ITN use was attributable to societal level factors whilst 20.9% variation was attributable to community level factors.
The study has revealed that in addition to individual level factors, community and society level factors affect ITN use in SSA. In as much as the study points towards the need to incorporate community and societal variations in ITN interventions, active involvement of men can yield better outcome for ITN utilisation interventions in SSA.
The author is grateful to MeasureDHS for making the data available for this study.
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- Insecticide treated net
- Pregnant women
- Public health
- Sub-Saharan Africa