Jombo GTA, Mbaawuaga EM, Ayegba AS, Enenebeaku MNO, Okwori EE, Peters EJ, Akpan S, Odey F Gyuse AN
Malaria has continued to constitute a serious public health issue in Nigeria nine years since the domestication of the ‘roll back malaria’ (RBM) programme in Africa. This study was therefore carried out to ascertain the burden of malaria among ante-natal women in a semi-urban community of Benue state. The study was hospital based. Pregnant women attending clinics for their routine ante-natal services were consecutively recruited into the study. Questionnaires were administered to obtain relevant information such as: age, number of previous pregnancies, literacy level, feeding habits, number of children, and ownership and use or otherwise of insecticide treated bed nets (ITNs). Capillary blood samples were obtained using sterile lancet where thick and thin blood films were made, fixed and stained using Giemsa’s method, then air dried and examined microscopically for malaria parasites. Micro-capillary tubes were used to collect capillary blood, sealed and centrifuged in microhaematocrit machine where Packed cell volume (PCV) was estimated. Data obtained was analysed using Epi Info 6 statistical software. The incidence of malaria was found to be 42.4% (308/726) of which anaemia (PCV < 28%) was recorded in 71.6% (221/308) of them. Those who used insecticide treated bed nets (ITNs) were 22.7% (165/726) while 32.6% (237/726) used untreated bed nets. There was a significant increase in the rate of malaria with a proportionate decrease in use of ITNs (P< 0.001). A significantly higher rate of infection was recorded among those who were uneducated compared to the educated; 67.9% (253/377) for Nil, 22.1% (38/172) for primary, 8.9% (11/133) and 12.9% (7/54) for secondary and tertiary education respectively, (P< 0.001). In view of the high malaria load among inhabitants of Otukpo and environs; efforts should be intensified towards supply and distribution of ITNs, adult education as well as public sensitization towards malaria control.
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