Relationship between care-givers' misconceptions and non-use of ITNs by under-five Nigerian children

Ekundayo Arogundade et al | 22 Jun 2011
Malaria Journal
Background

Malaria has been a major public health problem in Nigeria and many other sub-Saharan African countries. Insecticide-treated nets have shown to be cost-effective in the prevention of malaria, but the number of people that actually use these nets has remained generally low. Studies that explore the determinants of use of ITN are desirable.

Methods

Structured questionnaires based on thematic areas were administered by trained interviewers to 7,223 care-givers of under-five children selected from all the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. Bivariate analysis and multinomial logit model were used to identify possible determinants of use of ITN.

Results

Bivariate analysis showed that under-five children whose care-givers had some misconceptions about causes and prevention of malaria were significantly less likely to use ITN even though the household may own a net (p<0.0001). Education and correct knowledge about modes of prevention of malaria, knowing that malaria is dangerous and malaria can kill were also significantly associated with use of ITN (p<0.0001). Knowledge of symptoms of malaria did not influence use of ITN. Association of non-use of ITN with misconceptions about prevention of malaria persisted with logistic regression (Odds ratio 0.847; 95% CI 0.747 to 0.960).

Conclusions

Misconceptions about causes and prevention of malaria by caregivers adversely influence the use ITN by under-five children. Appropriate communication strategies should correct these misconceptions.

Full article available at http://www.malariajournal.com/content/10/1/170