Background: The impact of intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp) on malaria in pregnancy is well known. However, in countries where this policy is implemented, poor access and low compliance have been widely reported. Novel approaches are needed to deliver this intervention. Objective: To assess whether traditional birth attendants, drug-shop vendors, community reproductive health workers and adolescent peer mobilizers can administer IPTp with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) to pregnant women, reach those at greatest risk of malaria, and increase access and compliance with IPTp. Study design: An intervention study compared the delivery of IPTp in the community with routine delivery of IPTp at health units. The primary outcome measures were the proportion of adolescents and primigravidae accessed, and the proportion of women who received two doses of SP. The study also assessed the effect of the intervention on access to malaria treatment, antenatal care, other services and related costs. Results: More women (67.5%) received two doses of SP through the community approach compared with health units (39.9%; P<0.0001). Women who accessed IPTp in the community were at an earlier stage of pregnancy (21.0 weeks of gestation) than women who accessed IPTp at health units (23.1 weeks of gestation; P<0.0001). However, health units were visited by a higher proportion of primigravidae (23.6% vs 20.0%; P<0.04) and adolescents (28.4% vs 25.0%; P<0.03). Generally, women who accessed IPTp at health units made more visits for malaria treatment (2.6 (1.0-4.7) vs 1.8 (1.4-2.2); P<0.03). At recruitment, more women who accessed IPTp at health units sought malaria treatment compared with those who accessed IPTp in the community (56.9% vs 49.2%). However, at delivery, a high proportion of women who accessed IPTp in the community had sought malaria treatment (70.3%), suggesting the possibility that the novel approach had a positive impact on care seeking for malaria. Similarly, utilization of antenatal care, insecticide-treated nets and delivery care by women in the community was high. The total costs per woman receiving two doses of SP for IPTp were 4093 Uganda shillings (US$ 2.3) for women who accessed IPTp at health units, and 4491 Uganda shillings (US$ 2.6) for women who accessed IPTp in the community. Conclusion: The community approach was effective for the delivery of IPTp, although women still accessed and benefited from malaria treatment and other services at health units. However, the costs for accessing malaria treatment and other services are high and could be a limiting factor in mitigating the burden of malaria in Uganda.
Dazhong Jiankang, 2008, Vol 122, Issue 5, p. 516-525