PREVALENCE OF MALARIA AMONG PREGNANT WOMEN ATTENDING ANTENATAL CLINIC AND KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDE OF CAREGIVERS TO MALARIA DIAGNOSIS IN OZUBULU, ANAMBRA STATE.

AUTHOR: OBIANUMBA STELLA NNENNA

DEPARTMENT: PARASITOLOGY AND ENTOMOLOGY

AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA

A study was conducted to determine the prevalence of malaria parasite infection among pregnant women using peripheral blood and microscopy in Ozubulu. Also the knowledge and attitude of caregivers to malaria diagnosis were determined. The study was carried out between November 2011 and January 2012. A total of 243 pregnant women were sampled for malaria parasites infection using thick and thin film smears and 393 caregivers were sampled for knowledge and attitude in malaria diagnosis. The result showed a prevalence of 53.9% (131/243). It was found that women in their first pregnancy had the highest prevalence of 65.8% (48/73). Highest prevalence of 71.6% (58/81) was also recorded among women in their first trimester. Pregnant women aged 21 -25 years had highest infection rate of 68.8% (33/48). The result also showed that all the caregivers interviewed knew about self diagnosis of malaria. 57% (224/393) of the caregivers knew about microscopy, while only 2.5% (10/393) knew about Rapid Diagnostic Tests. 40.2% (158/393) of the caregivers rated laboratory diagnosis as not important, 47.8% (188/393) as barely important and 12% (47/393) as very important. 38.7% (152/393) of the caregivers suggested use of community health workers in enlightenment program on malaria diagnosis. Following the high prevalence of malaria infection in pregnancy, more efforts are needed in the control of malaria in pregnancy. The people need public enlightenment in the importance of malaria diagnosis.

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