Background: Malaria in pregnancy (MiP) remains a major health problem in Cameroon, with an unacceptably high annual maternal mortality rate pegged at 782 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Despite the gains made through the free distribution of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLITNs) during the antenatal visit and the mass campaign, there is a paucity of data about how pregnant women effectively care for LLITNs.
Methods: This was a hospital-based descriptive cross-sectional study conducted from June 2016 to September 2017 among consecutive consenting pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in Bonassama Health District (BHDa) and Buea Health Districts (BHD) located in Douala and Buea respectively using structured questionnaires.
Results: Seventy-eight point two (78.2%) of participants never used LLITNs in BHD compared to 7.0 % in BHDa. A greater proportion of participants in both health districts declared having acquired LLITNs during antenatal visits 502 (65.2%) and LLITNs acquisition were facilitated mostly by health workers (77.92 %) in BHD and (53.5%) BHDa. In BHD, 125 (32.5%) never washed their ITNs and the reasons cited were the difficulties to mount when removes 72 (18.7%) in BHD and 47 (12.2%) in BHDa. The majority of pregnant women do self-repaired 383(99.5%) their LLITNs when their damaged than taking them to the tailor 138(17.9%).
Conclusion: The high level of knowledge of LLITNs in protecting pregnant women against mosquito bites does not parallel the use of LLITNs in the study population. Forgetfulness and heat were the main reasons for not using the LLITNs in both Health Districts. Continuous health education and sensitization on the use of LLITNs as an effective preventive method for malaria during pregnancy should be accelerated especially during an antenatal visit.
Hermann Ngouakam, Jerome Fru-Cho and Bonaventure Tientche