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Open Access Research

Who attends antenatal care and expanded programme on immunization services in Chad, Mali and Niger? the implications for insecticide-treated net delivery

Meredith Carlson*, Lucy Smith Paintain, Jane Bruce, Jayne Webster and Jo Lines

Author Affiliations

Department of Disease Control, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK

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Malaria Journal 2011, 10:341  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-10-341

Published: 13 November 2011

Abstract

Background

Malaria remains one of the largest public health problems facing the developing world. Insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) are an effective intervention against malaria. ITN delivery through routine health services, such as antenatal care (ANC) and childhood vaccination (EPI), is a promising channel of delivery to reach individuals with the highest risk (pregnant women and children under five years old). Decisions on whether to deliver ITNs through both channels depends upon the reach of each of these systems, whether these are independent and the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of each. Predictors of women attending ANC and EPI separately have been studied, but the predictors of those who attend neither service have not been identified.

Methods

Data from Chad, Mali and Niger demographic and health surveys (DHS) were analyzed to determine risk factors for attending neither service. A conceptual framework for preventative health care-seeking behaviour was created to illustrate the hierarchical relationships between the potential risk factors. The independence of attending both ANC and EPI was investigated. A multivariate model of predictors for non-attendance was developed using logistic regression.

Results

ANC and EPI attendance were found to be strongly associated in all three countries. However, 47% of mothers in Chad, 12% in Mali and 36% in Niger did not attend either ANC or EPI. Region, mother's education and partner's education were predictors of non-attendance in all three countries. Wealth index, ethnicity, and occupation were associated with non-attendance in Mali and Niger. Other predictors included religion, healthcare autonomy, household size and number of children under five.

Conclusions

Attendance of ANC and EPI are not independent and therefore the majority of pregnant women in these countries will have the opportunity to receive ITNs through both services. Although attendance at ANC and EPI are not independent, delivery through both systems may still add incrementally to delivery through one alone. Therefore, there is potential to increase the proportion of women and children receiving ITNs by delivering through both of these channels. However, modelling is required to determine the level of attendance and incremental potential at which it's cost effective to deliver through both services.