Community delivery of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) is one potential option that could mitigate malaria in pregnancy. However, there is concern that this approach may lead to complacency among women with low access to essential care at health units. A non-randomised community trial assessed a new delivery system of IPTp through traditional birth attendants, drug shop vendors, community reproductive health workers and adolescent peer mobilisers (the intervention) compared with IPTp at health units (control). The study enrolled a total of 2081 pregnant women with the new approaches. Data on care-seeking practices before and after the intervention were collected. The majority of women with the new approaches accessed IPTp in the second trimester and adhered to two doses of sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (SP) (1404/2081; 67.5%). Antenatal care (four recommended visits) increased from 3.4% (27/805) to 56.8% (558/983) (P<0.001). The proportion of women delivering at health units increased from 34.3% (276/805) to 41.5% (434/1045) (P=0.02), whilst the proportion of women seeking care for malaria at health units increased from 16.7% (128/767) to 36.0% (146/405) (P<0.001). Similarly, use of insecticide-treated nets increased from 7.7% (160/2081) to 22.4% (236/1055) (P<0.001). In conclusion, the community-based system was effective in delivering IPTp, whilst women still accessed and benefited from essential care at health units.
Keywords: Adolescent; Adult; Antimalarials; Child; Drug Combinations; Female; Humans; Malaria; Patient Compliance; Patient Education as Topic; Pregnancy; Pregnancy Complications, Infectious; Prenatal Care; Pyrimethamine; Sulfadoxine; Treatment Outcome; Uganda