Grace N. Awantang, Stella O. Babalola, Hannah Koenker, and Nan Lewicky of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programs presented a poster today on IPTp uptake in Madagascar. Their Abstract follows:
Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) is one of the key interventions promoted for combatting maternal mortality and malaria. In Madagascar, supply side factors such as SP availability and ANC attendance are barriers to practicing IPTp.
Less than one fifth of women (18.4%) at risk for malaria take the recommended two doses of sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (SP) to prevent malaria during pregnancy whereas about half (49.7%) visit a health provider at least four times during pregnancy. Understanding the significant predictors of IPTp2 is crucial in order to inform interventions that can effectively promote this behavior.
Prior research has shown that both communication campaigns and individual cognitive, social and emotional factors, ideation, play a role in determining other health behaviors including malaria. We examined the correlates of IPTp2 using cross-sectional household survey data collected from female caretakers of children under five years of age.
Caregiver recall of any anti-malaria messages during the past year was used to determine their exposure to health communication. Knowledge of IPTp, response-efficacy of IPTp, attitudes towards antenatal care (ANC), attitudes towards ANC, discussion of IPTp, and descriptive norm about ANC determined a person’s ideation score.
Of 1,589 female caretakers, over half (56.8%) were exposed to an anti-malarial message and a tenth (10.8%) mentioned SP as the drug used by pregnant women to prevent malaria. Message exposure, IPTp ideation and education level were all significant predictors of IPTp2 uptake in multivariate analysis.
Uptake was lowest among caretakers in the Highland transmission zone where transmission is unstable and highest in the Sub-desert transmission zone. Results suggest that both individual ideation and exposure to anti-malaria behavior change communication play a significant role in IPTp uptake among women in Madagascar.
The small portion of the variation in IPTp2 uptake explained by the measured covariates suggests that programmatic efforts should address supply-side factors that hinder access to ANC and preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy.