OBJECTIVE: To assess whether traditional birth attendants, drug-shop vendors, community reproductive health workers and adolescent peer mobilizers can administer intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) with sulfadoxine-pyremethamine to pregnant women, and reach those most at risk of malaria and increase access and compliance to it. METHODS: The study was designed to assess new approaches of delivering IPT through these groups and compare it with IPT at health units. The primary outcome measures were: the proportion of adolescents and primigravidae accessed; gestational age at recruitment and the proportion of women who completed two doses of sulfadoxine-pyremethamine. RESULTS: Two thousand seven hundred and eighty-five pregnant women (78% of those in the study area) participated. With new approaches, 92.4% of the women received IPT during the second trimester as recommended by the policy, vs. 76.1% at health units, P < 0.0001. Of the women who received two doses of sulfadoxine-pyremethamine, 39.9% were at health units (control) vs. 67.5% through new approaches (P < 0.0001). Women using the new approaches also accessed IPT early: the mean gestational age when receiving the first dose of sulfadoxine-pyremethamine was 21.0 weeks vs. 23.1 weeks at health units (P < 0.0001). However, the health units were used by a higher proportion of primigravidae (23.6% vs. 20.0%, P < 0.04), and this was also the case for adolescents (28.4% vs. 25.0%, P < 0.03). This intervention was acceptable with 89.1% of the women at the new approaches intending to use IPT in future. CONCLUSIONS: The new approaches increased access to and compliance with IPT. We recommend a review of the policy to allow the provision of IPT through the new approaches.
Keywords: Adolescent; Adult; Age Distribution; Antimalarials; Child; Delivery of Health Care; Drug Combinations; Female; Gestational Age; Gravidity; Health Personnel; Health Services Accessibility; Humans; Malaria; Patient Compliance; Patient Education as Topic; Patient Satisfaction; Pregnancy; Pregnancy Complications, Infectious; Pregnancy Trimester, Second; Pyrimethamine; Rural Health; Sulfadoxine; Uganda