Malaria in pregnancy leads to serious adverse effects on the mother and the child and accounts for 75,000-200,000 infant deaths every year. Currently, the World Health Organization recommends intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) at each scheduled antenatal care (ANC) visit. This study aimed to assess IPTp-SP coverage in mothers delivering in health facilities and at the community. In addition, factors associated with low IPTp-SP uptake and malaria adverse outcomes in pregnancy were investigated.
A community and a health facility-based surveys were conducted in mothers delivering in Chókwè district, southern Mozambique. Social-demographic data, malaria prevention practices and obstetric history were recorded through self-report and antenatal records. For women delivering at health facilities, a clinical examination of mother and child was performed, and malaria infection at delivery was determined by rapid diagnostic test, microscopy, quantitative PCR and placental histology.
Of 1141 participants, 46.6, 30.2, 13.5 and 9.6% reported taking ≥ 3, two, one and none SP doses, respectively. Low IPTp uptake (< 3 doses) was associated with non-institutional deliveries (AOR = 2.9, P < 0.001), first ANC visit after week 28 (AOR = 5.4, P < 0.001), low awareness of IPTp-SP (AOR = 1.6, P < 0.002) and having no or only primary education (AOR = 1.3, P = 0.041). The overall prevalence of maternal malaria (peripheral and/or placental) was 16.8% and was higher among women from rural areas compared to those from urban areas (AOR = 1.9, P < 0.001). Younger age (< 20 years; AOR = 1.6, P = 0.042) and living in rural areas (AOR = 1.9, P < 0.001) were predictors of maternal malaria at delivery. Being primigravidae (AOR = 2.2, P = 0.023) and preterm delivery (AOR = 2.6, P < 0.001) predicted low birth weight while younger age was also associated with premature delivery (AOR = 1.4, P = 0.031).
The coverage for two and ≥ 3 doses of IPTp-SP is moderately higher than estimates from routine health facility records in Gaza province in 2015. However, this is still far below the national target of 80% for ≥ 3 doses. Ongoing campaigns aiming to increase the use of malaria prevention strategies during pregnancy should particularly target rural populations, increasing IPTp-SP knowledge, stimulate early visits to ANC, improve access to health services and the quality of the service provided.