The Provision of Intermittent Preventive Treatment for Malaria in Antenatal Care Clinics in Malawi: Views of Health Care Providers
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Author(s): Yoder PS, Nsabagasani X
This study focused on providers of antenatal health care in Malawi and their understanding and actions in the routine administration of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) for malaria. Since the recognition of the benefits of IPTp in preventing malaria transmission from mother to child, many countries in Africa have sought to provide at least two doses of the antimalarial drug sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) as an integral part of antenatal care. Malawi adopted IPTp as an official policy in 1993; and yet, after 20 years, the coverage of pregnant women who receive at least two doses of SP (IPTp2) is at 55%, according to the 2010 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey. The Malawi Ministry of Health has a target of 80% coverage for at least two doses of SP during antenatal care by 2015. The research explored the viewpoint of service providers: guidelines they use, challenges they face, problems they solve, and the rationale for giving SP pills. Study results show that the lack of clear, detailed guidelines for providing antimalarial drugs is the weakest aspect of Malawi antenatal services. Researchers also found a need for a system of supervision of antenatal services to focus attention on IPTp services.
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