Background: About one quarter of pregnant women in the population of Pakistan are using long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets (LLINs) for prevention of malaria. Past research reported that adequate information and education would act as mediator to change behaviour among patients for prevention of malaria infection. The effective use of LLINs would contribute to reduction of disease burden caused by malaria. The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of health education on the adoption of LLINs among pregnant women living in Tharparkar, a remote district in Sindh Province, Pakistan.
Methods: A quasi-experimental study design with control and intervention groups was conducted with 200 pregnant women (100 in each group). Women in the intervention group were provided with health education sessions on malaria for 12 weeks, while those in the control group obtained routine information from lady health workers (LHWs). Pre- and post-intervention assessment was done of knowledge about malaria and use of LLIN, which was statistically analysed using descriptive statistics and difference in difference (DID) multivariable regression analysis to test effectiveness of the intervention.
Results: Baseline was conducted with 200 pregnant women. Demographic characteristics were similar in both groups with slight differences in age, education, income, type of latrine, and source of drinking water. There were no significant differences between mean knowledge and use of LLINs scores between groups at baseline. However, the estimated DID value after the intervention was 4.170 (p < 0.01) and represents an increase in scores of knowledge in the intervention group compared to control. Similarly DID value of 3.360 (p < 0.05) showed an increase in use of LLINs score after the intervention which was significant, showing that the intervention had a positive effect.
Conclusions: Results proved that health education could be an effective intervention for improving knowledge and usage of LLINs among pregnant women for the prevention of malaria. Such educational interventions have a positive potential to be implemented at larger scale by incorporating them into routine health sessions provided by health workers.
Keywords: Antenatal care; Awareness and use of bed nets; Long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets; Malaria prevention; Vector control disease.