AWARENESS OF MALARIA AND ITS PREVENTIVE MODES
I would like to extend my appreciation to the mHealth unit of VAS2Nets Technologies Limited: Dr. Abiodun Oredugba, Dr. Olatoyosi Williams and Mr. Sunday Oladiran (Human Nutritionist). Immense appreciation goes to Mr. Sunday Oladiran who helped in the statistical analysis of the survey.
Gratitude also goes to the management of VAS2Nets Technologies who supported the team during the Malaria Campaign. Special thanks also go to Kasher Consulting Limited for the media coverage and support during this program.
Dr. Florence Pessu
mHealth Manager, VAS2Nets Technologies Limited Nigeria.
ACT Artemisinin-Based Combination Therapy
ANC Antenatal Care
CSR Corporate Social Responsibility
IPTp Intermittent Preventive Treatment during Pregnancy
ITN Insecticide-Treated Net
KAP Knowledge, attitudes, and practices
LGA Local Government Area
LLIN Long-lasting Insecticidal net
MIS Malaria Indicator Survey
MNM Malaria No More
MP Malaria Parasite
RDT Rapid diagnostic test
SP Sulfadoxine Pyrimethamine
WHO World Health Organization
Objective of Study
Data Processing and Analysis
Table 1 - Mosquito responsible for Malaria Transmission
Table 2 - Number of people at risk of malaria in the world
Table 3 - How lethal is malaria
Table 4 - Prevention of Malaria by using mosquito repellents
Table 5 - Prevention of Malaria by wearing light colored, long sleeve shirts and trousers
Table 6 - Prevention of Malaria by sleeping under insecticide treated bed nets
Table 7 - Malaria Treatment
Table 8 - Availability of vaccine against Malaria
Figure 1 - Number of people who are aware of the type of mosquito that causes MP
Figure 2 - Number of people at risk of Malaria in the World
Figure 3 - How lethal is Malaria
Figure 4 - Malaria prevention by mosquito repellent
Figure 5 - Malaria prevention by wearing light colored long sleeved shirts and trousers
Figure 6 - Number of people who use insecticide treated bed nets
Figure 7 - Number of people who are aware there is treatment for MP
Figure 8 - Number of people who are aware of the Malaria Vaccine
Discussion: Awareness of Malaria and its Preventive Modes
Appendix 1: WHO certified semi-structured questionnaire
The Malaria Survey was conducted during the Malaria Outreach by the mHealth team of VAS2Nets Technologies Limited on the 26th April 2016 using a WHO approved semi-structured questionnaire with 38 randomly selected Nursing mothers (18+years).
From interviews held, these participants speak the 5 major languages of Nigeria: English, Ibo, Hausa, Yoruba and Pidgin.
The result of this survey is to give a sketchy idea on the Awareness of Malaria and its preventive modes. The findings summarized below are just a snapshot of the knowledge forms of Malaria and should not be used as a judge for generalizing Awareness of Malaria Preventive Modes on a National Scale in Nigeria.
According to the 2010 Nigeria Malaria Indicator Survey (NMIS), Nigeria bears up to 25 percent of the malarial disease burden in Africa, hence contributing significantly to the one million lives lost per year in the region, which mostly consists of children, pregnant and nursing women.
Malaria in Nigeria is endemic and constitutes a major public health problem despite the curable nature of the disease. The 2010 NMIS results show that malaria-related deaths accounted for up to 11 percent of maternal mortality in the country. In addition, the disease contributed up to 25 percent of infant mortality and 30 percent of under-5 deaths, resulting in about 300,000 childhood deaths annually in Nigeria. Recently, it has been reported that malaria death rate in Nigeria has reduced by 18%, but still a lot still has to be done to further reduce the impact of the disease.
Malaria overburdens the already-weak Nigeria health system and exerts a huge social and economic burden on families, communities, and the country at large.
As Nigeria is ground zero for the malaria epidemic in Africa, a lot of attention is focused on shifting current malaria control efforts eventually towards malaria elimination programs. With numerous partners working throughout the country on various efforts, from bed net usage to artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT) and rapid diagnostic test (RDT) use and the fight against counterfeit drugs (including ACTs), VAS2Nets, in her own way, held an outreach campaign on Malaria Awareness to celebrate the World Malaria Day.
Objective of the Study
The goal of this study is to provide insights on how aware the populace is on Malaria Preventive Modes.
The mHealth team of VAS2Nets contacted the Medical Officer of Onigbongbo LGA of Lagos State to state our intention for a Malaria Awareness Program in relation to our expected CSR activities and to celebrate the World Malaria Day.
A WHO certified semi-structured questionnaire was given to the participants. To have an ideal sample, the team ensured that the participants were from the different regional/language specific areas of Nigeria.
A Purposive sampling method was used. The number of women chosen depended mainly on their ability to read and write. For others, face-face interviews were conducted, but their results were not analyzed as the interpretation was subjective since no form of audio record was made during the interviews.
However, despite the willingness of these participants to take part in the study, some complained that some questions in the questionnaire were not self explanatory, and even threatened to skip such questionnaire under the assumption that incentives would only be given to those who scored a particular percentage of the questions. Furthermore, we encountered other challenges during the survey. Most of the participants had no writing pen for the questionnaires.
The location for this study can be classified as an urban region with middle class living indigenes of Lagos State.
Data Processing and Analysis
Data collection, cleaning, coding, and weighing of the data was done by using the SPSS format.
Analysis was conducted in SPSS version 20 on the weighted dataset. Bases reported throughout this report reflect the weighted data.
Awareness of Malaria and its Preventive Modes
Pregnant and nursing women are more likely than the general population to become infected, suffer a recurrence, and/or develop serious complications and die from malaria. Failure to utilize effective antimalarial interventions through antenatal programs during the entire course of pregnancy or during nursing periods can cause severe long lasting maternal and fetal complications respectively or even death. About 73% of the mothers were well aware that the Anopheles mosquitoes are responsible for malaria transmission. Though this figure appears to be impressive, it portrays the fact the necessary facts about the disease are not generally known amongst 27% of the participants.
From Table 5, it is apparent that only 5.3% of the participants were aware that wearing light colored long sleeved shirts and trousers can aid in preventing Malaria. This can be explained through the theory of social belief where insecticide treated bed nets are the commonest and are the most believed means of preventing Malaria in Nigeria. 89.5% of the participants were well aware of the importance of insecticide treated nets in malaria prevention.
About 87% of the mothers are aware that malaria is fatal. The WHO recommends various interventions for the prevention and treatment of malaria during pregnancy in areas of stable malaria transmission of Nigeria. These interventions include the use of LLINs, intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) with Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine (SP), and the prompt diagnosis and effective treatment of malaria infections. Although a large percentage of the participants were aware of the treatment for malaria, it was still alarming to know that about 2.6% of them felt there was no treatment to malaria (see Table 7).
A 2015 Malaria KAP Survey by MNM results show that despite the minor decline in utilization of antenatal services during pregnancy; awareness and use of preventive treatment for malaria among pregnant and nursing women in Nigeria continues to rise. The 2015 data reveals that of all respondents from that study who were pregnant or had been pregnant in the past year, 79% took some medicine during pregnancy to prevent malaria, an increase from 76% in 2014, while even more progress is seen in the 52% number of women who took the recommended SP/Fansidar (a significant growth from 42% in 2014 to 52% in 2015).
Moreover, 86% of pregnant women who took SP/Fansidar during pregnancy reportedly received the dosage during an antenatal visit in health facilities compared to 78% in 2014. It is therefore safe to say that the success in awareness and the use of preventive treatment for malaria during pregnancy is the result of incessant efforts by the Government of Nigeria and other health partners who continue to promote utilization of antenatal services during pregnancy and ensure that these necessary medications are readily available in the health centers.
From illustrations above, it is evident that more awareness has to be created in regards to other preventive modes of malaria other than the treated insecticide bed nets.
To achieve the goal of ending malaria deaths in Nigeria, it is important not only to improve usage, ownership of, and access to LLINs, but also to emphasize the necessity of seeking appropriate testing and treatment upon presenting with malaria symptoms.
The Government of Nigeria and other key stakeholders, VAS2Nets Technologies inclusive, in the fight against malaria, should work tirelessly to increase awareness of proper malaria diagnosis and treatment among the population, while also ensuring that such outreaches are emphasized so as to reach the populace with poor awareness on preventive modes of Malaria.
Malaria is still a major public health issue in Nigeria, and as such all public and private sectors should endeavor, in their own way, further increase the Malaria Campaign. LET’S END MALARIA TOGETHER.