Background: The aim of the study was to determine the coverage of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) and its relationship with delivery outcomes among obstetric referral cases at the district level of healthcare.
Methods: An implementation research within three districts of the Greater Accra region was conducted from May 2017 to February 2018, to assess the role of an enhanced inter-facility communication system on processes and outcomes of obstetric referrals. A cross-sectional analysis of the data on IPTp coverage as well as delivery outcomes for the period of study was conducted, for all the referrals ending up in deliveries. Primary outcomes were maternal and neonatal complications at delivery. IPTp coverage was determined as percentages and classified as adequate or inadequate. Associated factors were determined using Chi square. Odds ratios (OR, 95% CI) were estimated for predictors of adequate IPTp dose coverage for associations with delivery outcomes, with statistical significance set at p = 0.05.
Results: From a total of 460 obstetric referrals from 16 lower level facilities who delivered at the three district hospitals, only 223 (48.5%) received adequate (at least 3) doses of IPTp. The district, type of facility where ANC is attended, insurance status, marital status and number of antenatal clinic visits significantly affected IPTp doses received. Adjusted ORs show that adequate IPTp coverage was significantly associated with new-born complication [0.80 (0.65-0.98); p = 0.03], low birth weight [0.51 (0.38-0.68); p < 0.01], preterm delivery [0.71 (0.55-0.90); p = 0.01] and malaria as indication for referral [0.70 (0.56-0.87); p < 0.01]. Positive association with maternal complication at delivery was seen but was not significant.
Conclusion: IPTp coverage remains low in the study setting and is affected by type of health facility that ANC is received at, access to health insurance and number of times a woman attends ANC during pregnancy. This study also confirmed earlier findings that, as an intervention IPTp prevents bad outcomes of pregnancy, even among women with obstetric referrals. It is important to facilitate IPTp service delivery to pregnant women across the country, improve coverage of required doses and maximize the benefits to both mothers and newborns.
Keywords: Coverage; Delivery outcomes; Intermittent presumptive treatment of malaria in pregnancy; Maternal; Neonatal; Obstetric referrals.