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Is the Scale Up of Malaria Intervention Coverage Also Achieving Equity?
Authors: Richard W. Steketee, Thomas P. Eisele
Source: PLOS ONE , 2009, Vol. 4 Issue 12, p1-9, 9p, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008409
Topic(s): Inequality
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: AUG 2009
Abstract: Abstract: Background and Methods: Malaria in Africa is most severe in young children and pregnant women, particularly in rural and poor households. In many countries, malaria intervention coverage rates have increased as a result of scale up; but this may mask limited coverage in these highest-risk populations. Reports were reviewed from nationally representative surveys in African malaria-endemic countries from 2006 through 2008 to understand how reported intervention coverage rates reflect access by the most at-risk populations. Results: Reports were available from 27 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHSs), Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICSs), and Malaria Indicator Surveys (MISs) during this interval with data on household intervention coverage by urban or rural setting, wealth quintile, and sex. Household ownership of insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) varied from 5% to greater than 60%, and was equitable by urban/rural and wealth quintile status among 13 (52%) of 25 countries. Malaria treatment rates for febrile children under five years of age varied from less than 10% to greater than 70%, and while equitable coverage was achieved in 8 (30%) of 27 countries, rates were generally higher in urban and richest quintile households. Use of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnant women varied from 2% to more than 60%, and again tended to be higher in urban and richest quintile households. Across all countries, there were no significant male/female inequalities seen for children sleeping under ITNs or receiving antimalarial treatment for febrile illness. Parasitemia and anemia rates from eight national surveys showed predominance in poor and rural populations. Conclusions/Significance: Recent efforts to scale up malaria intervention coverage have achieved equity in some countries (especially with ITNs), but delivery methods in other countries are not addressing the most at-risk populations. As countries seek universal malaria intervention coverage, their delivery systems must reach the rural and poor populations; this is not a small task, but it has been achieved in some countries. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]