Perception and Practices on Malaria Control among Pregnant Women in Machakos Central Division, Kenya
Kyania, Martin Mulala
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Malaria is endemic in Kenya. It is the most important cause of morbidity and mortality in children under five years of age. It accounts for 30% of outpatient visits and nearly 20% of admissions to health facilities here Kenya. In Machakos District, Malaria has been the top cause of morbidity and mortality particularly in children under 5 years and women in the reproductive age. Records from the Machakos District hospital show that malaria cases have been steadily increasing from a low of 151,181 in the year 2002 to a high of 435,987 in the year 2010. The main objective of the study was to establish the perception and practices of pregnant women on malaria control in Machakos Central Division. The research design used was a descriptive survey and the study was done at Machakos District Hospital. A sample of 384 pregnant women from the division was interviewed using an interview schedule. In addition three focus group discussions of eight respondents each were conducted. Results showed that factors that were found to influence perceptions and practices of pregnant mothers on malaria control were education (X2=8.J5!, df=J, p<0.004), occupation (l=4.029, df=l , p<0.045), believe that malaria can be treated/controlled through medical intervention (X2=!7.703, df=l , p<O.OOOJ), perception that children under five years and pregnant women are at a high risk of malaria infection (X2=8.909, df=l , p<0.003), accessibility of health facility (X2=5.096, df=l , p<0.024), and knowledge on associated causes of malaria(x2=1.8!5, df= 1, p<O.O18). Focus group discussion revealed that lack of proper information on part of pregnant women on causes and diagnosis of malaria, and availability of control measures hindered successful control. The study also found that stigma surrounding teenage pregnancy was a major obstacle for pregnant teenagers in their efforts to seek medical care. The study concludes that education and occupation are important factors in malaria control. It recommends that policy formulation on malaria be directed towards information, education, communication, monitoring and evaluation and 'inter sector collaboration.