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Archived Comments for: Prevalence and risk factors associated with malaria infection among pregnant women in a semi-urban community of north-western Nigeria

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  1. Importance of study tool validation and adherence to reporting guidelines in community based cross sectional studies

    Siddharudha Shivalli, Yenepoya Medical College, Yenepoya University, Mangalore-575018, India

    14 October 2015

    I read this article with curiosity. Authors’ efforts are admirable. This study reiterates malaria as a major public health problem among pregnant women in Argungu and lack of education and non-usage of ITNs augments the risk of malaria. However, following issues need to be addressed.

    In methods section, authors mention that 266 pregnant women in their second trimester were randomly selected from the enlisted 850 households. But, following should have been mentioned : How many pregnant women were assessed for eligibility? Why only 2nd trimester pregnant women were included? What was the operational definition to categorize a pregnant woman as user or non-user of ITN?

    Prevalence of malaria, a key outcome variable, should have been reported with 95% confidence intervals . In results section, authors have repeatedly mentioned the p value as ‘0.000’. SPSS, by default setting, displays p value as zero if it extends beyond 3 decimal points (i.e. p=0.0000007 would be displayed as p=0.00). Practically, the value of p cannot be zero and hence, I, would suggest to report it as p<0.0001.

    Authors have mentioned in the limitation as they did not assess the key factors such as gravidity, trimester, whether IPT was given or not and frequency of antenatal care visits etc. While conducting a community based study with a sample frame of 850 households, one must be sure of the sampling and the study tool/s. The questionnaire should have been validated by 3/more epidemiologists. Use of the phrase ‘risk factors’ in the title is debatable as it was a cross sectional study and the observed associations may not imply causality. 

    None the less, I must congratulate the authors for investigating an important public health problem among pregnant women.

    Competing interests

    The author declares that there is no conflict of interest about this publication.