Uptake of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy for malaria: further analysis of the 2016 Ghana Malaria Indicator Survey



Significant proportions of pregnant women living in malaria-endemic countries throughout the world are exposed to the risk of malaria. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests the use of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy with sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP) in at least three doses to achieve the optimal benefit of preventing malaria among pregnant women.


The study uses secondary data from the 2016 Ghana Malaria Indicator Survey (GMIS). The analysis included a total of 1220 women aged from 15 to 49 who had children under the age of 24 months and who attended antenatal care (ANC) during their pregnancy. Multinomial logistic regression is used to examine the uptake of partial and optimal doses of IPTp-SP.


The results show that, overall, the proportion of women in Ghana with uptake of IPTp-SP during pregnancy was 63% for three or more doses, 27% for one to two doses, and 10% for no dose. Uptake varies by background characteristics. At the bivariate level, sociodemographic factors (level of education and religion) and knowledge-related factors (exposure to messages on treatment of malaria and covered by health insurance) predicted partial (1–2 doses) or optimal uptake (3+ doses) of IPTp-SP compared to no uptake among pregnant women. The multinomial regression analysis showed that region, education, wealth, and exposure to messages on treatment of malaria are associated with uptake of optimal doses of IPTp-SP compared to partial uptake.


The Ministry of Health, the National Malaria Control Program, Ghana Health Service, and other stakeholders should take cognizance of these factors in planning programs for improving uptake of IPTp-SP among pregnant women. Efforts should be made by stakeholders to increase women’s exposure to mass media messages on the use of IPTp-SP for malaria during pregnancy.

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We wish to express our profound gratitude to Wenjuan Wang and Shireen Assaf, who facilitated the 2019 DHS Fellows Program, for their immense contribution to the development of the research project and training on DHS data analysis. We would like to acknowledge the effort of the co-facilitators — Gedefew Abeje Fekadu and Kyaw Swa Mya — for their support during the fellowship. We would like to extend our appreciation to the 2019 DHS fellows for their positive feedback during the training sessions. We also thank the University of Cape Coast for granting us the permission to participate in the DHS 2019 Fellows Program. Our acknowledgment also goes to USAID for funding the research project through ICF. We wish to also thank our reviewer Cameron Taylor for her constructive comments on the paper and support throughout the process.


This study was carried out with support provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the DHS Program (#720-OAA-18C-00083). The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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EKMD, IB, and CAB conceived the study. EKMD designed and performed the analysis. EKMD, IB, and CAB conducted the review of literature and drafted the manuscript. EKMD, IB, and CAB revised the manuscript for intellectual content, and gave consent for the version to be published. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Eugene Kofuor Maafo Darteh.

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Darteh, E.K.M., Buabeng, I. & Akuamoah-Boateng, C. Uptake of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy for malaria: further analysis of the 2016 Ghana Malaria Indicator Survey. J Public Health (Berl.) 29, 967–978 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10389-020-01206-1

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  • Uptake of intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp-SP)
  • Malaria
  • Pregnancy
  • Ghana, Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS)