Background: Malaria remains a huge national concern in Nigeria with severe implications for maternal and child health.
Aims: This study was aimed at investigating factors that influence malaria prevention among women of reproductive age in line with the National Malaria Control objectives.
Subjects and methods: A descriptive, cross-sectional study design and cluster sampling technique was used to recruit study participants. Respondents had 'correct' knowledge of malaria if they knew the cause and symptoms of malaria. Otherwise is classified as 'incorrect'. Data were analysed in Epi Info version 7 with the level of statistical significance set at P 0≤ 0.05.
Results: Most respondents, 709 (89%) had good knowledge of malaria. Their educational level was significantly associated with this knowledge (χ2 = 3.6993, P = 0.0544). There were, however, some myths and misconceptions about malaria. Of 390 (49.3%) that owned insecticide treated bed nets (ITNs), only 59 (18.2%) used them consistently, while only 31 (50%) of the pregnant women received intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp). Malaria knowledge, ITNs ownership and female education were not significantly associated with ITN and IPTp usage. Married women had 3 times higher odds of ITN usage than the unmarried, (odds ratio [OR] = 2.69, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 1.56-4.62), and women with children had 2 times higher odds of usage than those without (OR = 2.42, 95% CI = 1.42-4.12).
Conclusions: The use of malaria prevention measures among women of reproductive age is still sub-optimal. We advocate for intensified education of women on malaria in local languages, using role plays and community dialogues. Efforts must also be directed at dispelling myths and misconceptions about malaria for maximum impact.