By Sola Ogundipe
OWNERSHIP of an insecticide-treated mosquito net (ITN) in Nigeria does not automatically translate into usage by women and children under 5 – potentiallyÂ challenging the Federal government target of providing two ITNs per household in the country by december 2010.
This was one of the findings of the just released 2008 Nigerian Demographic andÂ Health Survey (NDHS)Â implemented by the National Population Commission (NPC).
According to the report designed to provide data for monitoring population and healthÂ situation inÂ the country,Â use of ITNs is not consistent even in households that own mosquito nets as only a handful of women and half of children living in households in which there was an ITN actually slept under it the night before the survey.
While 17 per cent of households have a mosquito net, and 8 per cent have an insecticide-treated net, overall, just 6 per cent of children under-five slept under an ITN the night before the survey.
Among zones surveyed, use of ITNs by children ranged from a low of 4 per cent to a high of 11 per cent.
However, it was noted that although childrenâ€™s use of ITNs continues to be low, it has increased in recent years, from only 1 per cent in 2003 to 6 per cent in 2008.
From the survey, only four percent of women age 15â€“49 and 5 per cent of pregnant women age 15â€“49 slept under an ITN the night before the survey. Use of ITNs by pregnant women is low across all zones, ranging from 3 per cent in North Central and South West zones to 7 per cent in South South zone. ITN use among pregnant women has also increased since 2003.
The survey recorded that among children under five years who had fever in the two weeks before the survey, one-third (33 per cent) were given antimalarial drugs, and 15 per cent were given antimalarial drugs the same day or the day following the onset of fever. Majority of children who received an antimalarial received chloroquine.
In line with the recommendation thatÂ pregnant women receive at least two doses of the antimalarial drug SP/Fansidar, Amalar, or Maloxine as intermittent preventive treatment (IPT), overall, 8 per cent of pregnant women received one of these drugs during an ANC visit, and 5 per cent received two doses of the antimalarial drug.