Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy: a qualitative study of knowledge, attitudes and practices of district health managers, antenatal care staff and pregnant women in Korogwe District, North-Eastern Tanzania

Malar J. 2005 Jul 20;4:31. doi: 10.1186/1475-2875-4-31.


Background: Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy (IPTp) is a key intervention in the national strategy for malaria control in Tanzania. SP, the current drug of choice, is recommended to be administered in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy during antenatal care (ANC) visits. To allow for a proper design of planned scaling up of IPT services in Tanzania it is useful to understand the IPTp strategy's acceptability to health managers, ANC service providers and pregnant women. This study assesses the knowledge, attitudes and practices of these groups in relation to malaria control with emphasis on IPTp services.

Methods: The study was conducted in February 2004, in Korogwe District, Tanzania. It involved in-depth interviews with the district medical officer (DMO), district hospital medical officer in charge and relevant health service staff at two peripheral dispensaries, and separate focus group discussions (FGDs) with district Council Health Management Team members at district level and pregnant women at dispensary and community levels.

Results: Knowledge of malaria risks during pregnancy was high among pregnant women although some women did not associate coma and convulsions with malaria. Contacting traditional healers and self-medication with local herbs for malaria management was reported to be common. Pregnant women and ANC staff were generally aware of SP as the drug recommended for IPTp, albeit some nurses and the majority of pregnant women expressed concern about the use of SP during pregnancy. Some pregnant women testified that sometimes ANC staff allow the women to swallow SP tablets at home which gives a room for some women to throw away SP tablets after leaving the clinic. The DMO was sceptical about health workers' compliance with the direct observed therapy in administering SP for IPTp due to a shortage of clean water and cups at ANC clinics. Intensified sensitization of pregnant women about the benefits of IPTp was suggested by the study participants as an important approach for improving IPTp compliance.

Conclusion: The successful implementation of the IPTp strategy in Tanzania depends on the proper planning of, and support to, the training of health staff and sustained sensitization of pregnant women at health facility and community levels about the benefits of IPTp for the women and their unborn babies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antimalarials / administration & dosage*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Personnel* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Malaria / drug therapy
  • Malaria / prevention & control*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Patient Compliance
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic / prevention & control*
  • Pyrimethamine / administration & dosage*
  • Sulfadoxine / administration & dosage*
  • Tanzania / epidemiology


  • Antimalarials
  • Drug Combinations
  • fanasil, pyrimethamine drug combination
  • Sulfadoxine
  • Pyrimethamine