Inequalities in the use of insecticide-treated nets by pregnant women in Ghana, 2011 and 2017

Eugene BUDU, Joshua OKYERE*, Felix MENSAH, Simon Agongo AZURE, Abdul-Aziz SEIDU, Edward Kwabena AMEYAW, Bright Opoku AHINKORAH

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Pregnant women and children are the most vulnerable group of people usually affected by malaria. The use of insecticide-treated nets is one of the proven interventions for mitigating malaria and its associated deaths in endemic regions, including Ghana. Meanwhile, there is limited evidence on the extent of inequality in insecticide-treated nets use by pregnant women in Ghana. This study assessed the inequalities in insecticide-treated nets use by pregnant women in Ghana.

Data from the 2011 and 2017 versions of the Ghana Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys were used. The 2019 updated World Health Organization (WHO) HEAT software (version 3.1) was used for all analyses. Four equity stratifiers were employed to disaggregate insecticide-treated nets use by pregnant women in Ghana. These are economic status, level of education, place of residence, and sub-national region. Four measures were used to compute inequality namely Difference (D), Population Attributable risk (PAR), Population Attributable Fraction (PAF) and Ratio (R).

The analyses indicated a rise in pregnant women’s insecticide-treated nets use from 32.6% in 2011 to 49.7% in 2017. Except sub-national region, all the factors showed mild inequality in insecticide-treated nets use. For instance, with respect to the economic status of pregnant women, only a slight inequality was exhibited by one of the simple measures in both 2011 (R = 0.3; 95% UI = 0.2–0.6) and 2017 (R = 0.5; 95% UI = 0.3–0.7). Marginal inequality in insecticide-treated nets use was noted in 2011 (R = 0.6; 95% UI = 0.5–0.9) and 2017 (R = 0.8; 95% UI = 0.6–0.9) for level of education. In the same vein, slight inequality was realized with respect to place of residence in 2011 (R = 0.4; 95% UI = 0.3–0.6) and 2017 (R = 0.6; 95% UI = 0.5–0.7). For sub-national region, both simple (D = 50.5; 95% UI = 30.7–70.4) and complex (PAF = 91.3; 95% UI = 72.3–110.3) measures demonstrated substantial inequality in 2011. In the case of 2017, considerable inequality in insecticide-treated nets use occurred (D = 58; 95% UI = 42.2–73.8, PAF = 51.9; 95% UI = 36.2–67.6).

In conclusion, insecticide-treated nets utilization by pregnant Ghanaian women increased between 2011 and 2017. The findings show that Ghana’s Ministry of Health in collaboration with anti-malarial non-governmental organizations must review patterns of insecticide-treated nets distribution and intensify advocacy among educated pregnant women, those in urban settings and the rich, to assuage the magnitude of inequality.
Original languageEnglish
Article number376
JournalMalaria Journal
Issue number1
Early online date9 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for granting us free access to the original data used in this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Insecticide-treated net
  • Pregnant women
  • Ghana
  • Multiple indicator cluster survey


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