Acceptance and use of insecticide treated net (ITN) by mothers for malaria control in children under five years in the Sunyani Municipality

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Malaria continues to remain a major burden of morbidity and mortality in most parts of developing world, more so in Sub-Saharan Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that about 90% of the deaths associated with Malaria occurred in Africa, South of the Sahara (WHO 2003). But, what is more distressing is that children under-five years are disproportionately affected by the incidence of Malaria, especially in Ghana (GHS, 2001). The study sought to assess the context of acceptability and utilization of Insecticide Treated bed nets (ITNs) among children under five years in the Sunyani Municipality aimed at contributing towards the improvement of reducing malaria incidence. A descriptive cross-sectional survey was adopted, using multistage random sampling method to select study participants. The study was limited to mothers of children under five years. Three hundred (300) mothers with children under five were interviewed using structured survey questionnaire. The main findings, indicated that most (89.3%) of mothers interviewed had adequate knowledge about the causes and prevention of malaria. The respondents knew that the use of JTNs was the best method of malaria prevention. Few mothers however mentioned eating balanced diet (7.7%) and consulting herbalists (0.6%) as the best way to prevent malaria. Respondents’ knowledge about sources of information on ITNs was generally high with hospitals (75.3%) and television (60.7%) as the main sources of information about the net. • Despite their high knowledge about the ITNs, a little more than one-third (3 5%) own the nets. Majority (76.7%) of respondents who own the nets used them the night before the study. Those respondents, who did not have nets, expressed their willingness to buy them when they get money. Based on the key findings, it is recommended that: • Education on the use of ITNs should be intensified. • The Municipal Health Directorate should effectively collaborate with the Municipal Assembly and identifiable groups and organizations to educate the community on Malaria prevention methods through seminars. • The Municipal Assembly should embark on programmes on environmental cleanliness and good hygienic practices to eradicate mosquito breeding sites. • More ITNs to be produced and highly subsidized. • Public and Private Sector participation should be encouraged in the production and distribution of permanently treated ITNs.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Community Health, College of Health Sciences in partial fulfilment of requirements for Master of science degree, 2005