The impact of community delivery of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy on its coverage in four sub-Saharan African countries (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Nigeria)
Background: Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine is recommended at each antenatal care clinic visit in high-moderate transmission areas. However, its coverage remains unacceptably low in many countries. Community health workers can effectively deliver malaria preventive interventions. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of community delivery of IPTp (C-IPTp) on antenatal care and IPTp coverage.
Methods: A community-based IPTp administration approach was implemented in four sub-Saharan countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), Madagascar, Mozambique, and Nigeria. A quasi-experimental before and after evaluation by cluster sampling was designed where C-IPTp was implemented in selected country areas in different phases. Baseline (before C-IPTp implementation), midline, and endline household surveys were carried out to assess IPTp intake in pregnant women in 2018, 2019, and 2021. Eligible participants of the household survey were women of reproductive age (13-50 years old, depending on the country) that had a pregnancy that ended (any pregnancy regardless of pregnancy outcome) in the 6 months before the interview. For the first baseline surveys, the target population was women who had a pregnancy that ended in the 12 months before the interview. The primary outcome from the household surveys was the proportion of women who reported having received at least three doses of IPTp during pregnancy. The trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03600844.
Findings: A total of 32 household surveys were conducted between March 15, and Oct 30, 2018, and data from 18 215 interviewed women were analysed. The coverage of at least three doses of IPTp (IPTp3+) increased after the first year of C-IPTp implementation in all project areas in DR Congo (from 22·5% [170/755] to 31·8% [507/1596]), Madagascar (from 17·7% [101/572] to 40·8% [573/1404]), and Nigeria (from 12·7% [130/1027] to 35·2% [423/1203]), with increases between 145·6% (Madagascar) and 506·6% (Nigeria). IPTp3+ coverage increased between baseline and endline in all districts, except for Murrupula (Mozambique) and ranged between 9·6% and 533·6%. This pattern was similar in DR Congo, Madagascar, and Nigeria, and in Mozambique, the increase was lower than the other countries. Antenatal care attendance did not change or increased lightly in all study countries.
Interpretation: C-IPTp was associated with an increase in IPTp uptake without reducing antenatal care attendance. The strategy might be considered for malaria control in pregnancy.
Funding: UNITAID [2017-13-TIPTOP].
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