Malaria is endemic and a major public health problem in Nigeria. In most malaria endemic areas, pregnant women are the main adult group at risk for the severe form of the disease.In the absence of effective vaccine for malaria prevention and development of unacceptable levels of resistance to one drug after another by the malaria parasite, prevention of mosquitoes bite through use of insecticide treated nets (ITNs) remains a very important strategy for malaria control. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and barriers to use of insecticide treated nets among pregnant women in Sokoto. This was a cross sectional descriptive study among 185 randomly selected pregnant women attending antenatal clinic (ANC) at Specialist Hospital Sokoto, in October, 2010. Data collection was done using a set of pretested, semi-structured questionnaires; descriptive statistics was used for analysis. Among the 179 (96.8%) respondents that were aware of ITNs out of the 185 participants, 154 (86.0%) had accurate knowledge of ITNs, 50 (27.6%) use ITNs (but this constitutes 74.6% of the 67 respondents that own an ITN). One hundred and eleven (84.7%) of the 131 respondents who did not sleep under an ITN the night before the survey, gave lack of ITNs as reason for not sleeping under the net. Utilization of ITNs was low despite high knowledge of the commodity among the respondents. Lack of ownership was the major barrier to its utilization. Educational level was statistically significantly associated with ownership and use of ITNs (p < 0.001). Women empowerment (through education and employment) and monitoring of ITNs distribution by the relevant government agencies were suggested as important interventions in improving availability, affordability and use of ITNs.
Key words: Insecticide treated nets, prevalence, barriers, pregnancy.
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