Intermittent use of sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine for malaria prevention: A cross-sectional study of knowledge and practices among Ugandan women attending an urban antenatal clinic.
Odongo, Charles O.
Bisaso, Ronald K.
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Abstract Background: The WHO recommends supervised administration of sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) as intermittent preventive treatment for malaria (IPTp) during pregnancy. Logistical constraints have however favoured unsupervised intake of SP-IPTp, casting doubts whether recent guidelines requiring more frequent intake can be effectively implemented. To propose strategies for enhancing compliance under limited supervision, this study sought to identify pregnant women’s knowledge and practices gaps as well as determine predictors of compliance with SP-IPTp, given under limited supervision. Methods: A cross-sectional study of 700 women used exit interviews at an urban clinic in Uganda to obtain a descriptive summary of demographic and obstetric characteristics, including knowledge, practice and experiences with SP. Predictors of compliance with SP intake instructions were explored using logistic regression. Results: Median age of respondents was 25 (IQR 22–28) and median parity was two (IQR one to three) while median number of antenatal clinic (ANC) visits was 3.0 (IQR three to four). Most women had completed primary (36%) or ordinary secondary education (25.6%) while 16.1% had not completed primary education. Awareness about SP was high (99.4%) although correct knowledge regarding its use in pregnancy was low (57%), with 15.4% thinking it was used to treat malaria and 26.7% lacking any idea about its use. Correct knowledge on SP use during pregnancy significantly predicted compliance with SP-IPTp instructions (OR 1.98, C.I. 1.12-3.55), while age, education level, parity, number of ANC visits, or history of unwanted effects with SP did not. SP was mostly accessed from hospitals (64.4%) followed by private clinics (16.9%) both for preventive and treatment purposes. SP was considered safe by most women, who were willing to take it again in future, without supervision. Conclusion: Despite high awareness, knowledge of SP as an intervention for malaria prevention in pregnancy was low. Correct knowledge on use of SP predicted compliance with SP-IPTp intake instructions. Focused malaria-related education during ANC visits may improve compliance with SP intake amidst limited supervision.