Background: In 2018, Nigeria accounted for the highest prevalence of malaria worldwide. Pregnant women and children under five years bear the highest risk of malaria. Geographical factors affect utilization of insecticide-treated nets (ITN), yet existing literature have paid little attention to the rural-urban dimension of ITN utilization in Nigeria. This study aimed at investigating the rural-urban variation in ITN utilization among pregnant women in Nigeria using data from the 2018 Demographic and Health Survey.
Methods: A total of 2909 pregnant women were included in the study. The prevalence of ITN utilization for rural and urban pregnant women of Nigeria were presented with descriptive statistics. Chi-square test was employed to assess the association between residence, socio-demographic characteristics and ITN utilization at 95% level of significance. Subsequently, binary logistic regression was used to assess the influence of residence on ITN utilization.
Results: Eight out of ten of the rural residents utilized ITN (86.1%) compared with 74.1% among urban residents. Relative to urban pregnant women, those in rural Nigeria had higher odds of utilizing ITNs both in the crude [cOR = 2.17, CI = 1.66-2.84] and adjusted models [aOR = 1.18, CI = 1.05-1.24]. Pregnant women aged 40-44 had lower odds of ITN utilization compared to those aged 15-19 [aOR = 0.63, CI = 0.44-0.92]. Poorer pregnant women had higher odds of ITN utilization compared with poorest pregnant women [aOR = 1.09, CI = 1.04-1.32]. Across regions, those in the south [aOR = 0.26, CI = 0.14-0.49] and south-west [aOR = 0.29, CI = 0.16-0.54] had lower odds of ITN use compared to their counterparts in the north-west region.
Conclusion: The high use of ITNs among pregnant women in Nigeria may be due to the prioritization of rural communities by previous interventions. This is a dimension worth considering to enhance the attainment of the national anti-malarial initiatives. Since possession of ITN is not a guarantee for utilization, women in urban locations need constant reminder of ITN use through messages delivered at ANC and radio advertisements. Moreover, subsequent mass ITN campaigns ought to take cognizance of variations ITN use across regions and pragmatic steps be taken to increase the availability of ITN in households since there is a moderately high use in households with at least one ITN in Nigeria.
- Pregnant women
- Insecticide treated net
- Maternal health