PMI Impact Malaria

Malaria in Pregnancy

 

Malaria in pregnancy (MIP) is a major threat to the lives of pregnant women, fetuses, and infants. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable because pregnancy reduces a woman’s immunity to malaria, making her more susceptible to malaria infection and increasing the risk of anemia, severe illness, and death. For the unborn child, maternal malaria is associated with premature delivery and low birth weight, a leading cause of newborn deaths.

In areas with moderate to high transmission of the malaria parasite species Plasmodium falciparum—mainly countries in Africa—the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a three-part package of interventions for controlling malaria and its effects during pregnancy: 

  • The promotion and use of insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs); 

  • Administration of intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp); and 

  • Prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment of malaria. 

IPTp is a full therapeutic course of antimalarial medicine given to pregnant women at routine antenatal care (ANC) visits, regardless of malaria infection. In 2012, WHO revised its IPTp guidelines to recommend providing the drug sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) at every scheduled ANC visit after the first trimester, with doses administered as early as possible in the second trimester and at least one month apart until delivery.

Since then, WHO published new ANC guidelines that recommend an increase in the number of contacts between health providers and pregnant women, effectively ensuring more opportunities to expand IPTp-SP coverage.

Resources

  • PMI Protects Pregnant Women from Malaria 3-Minute Storytelling Video
  • Protecting Pregnant Women in Côte d’Ivoire from Malaria PMI Impact Malaria Blog Post
  • Malaria Continues to Threaten Pregnant Women and Infants. What is Sierra Leone Doing About It? PMI Impact Malaria Blog Post
  • MIP Photos PMI Impact Malaria Photo Album

PMI Impact Malaria (IM) works with national malaria control programs (NMCPs) in 11 countries to strengthen and expand MIP preventive activities through a partnership between national malaria control, reproductive health, and maternal and child health programs. As part of this collaboration, IM supports country MIP programs from the central level to health service delivery points. IM has: 

  • Helped countries initiate and revitalize MIP Technical Working Groups, with the aim of ensuring coordination and collaboration across key malaria and reproductive health stakeholders to update MIP policies, review MIP data, and address common MIP priorities. 

  • Worked with countries to ensure that MIP interventions are included in national supervision checklists.

  • Initiated supportive supervision with mentorship to provide in-depth service delivery support where needed. 

  • Conducted operational research to explore strategies to improve IPTp coverage. 

In addition, IM provides secretariat and technical support to the Roll Back Malaria – Malaria in Pregnancy Working Group, which brings together national and global stakeholders to support acceleration of MIP program implementation. 

 

This is PMI Impact Malaria’s geographic coverage of country-driven activities to reduce malaria in pregnancy:

 

Photo Caption: Nurse midwife Jenifer Adjei conducts a malaria rapid diagnostic test (mRDT) on her pregnant patient at the Oda District Hospital in Ghana. Photo Credit: Emmanuel Attramah, PMI Impact Malaria Ghana

Sources: PMI Malaria in Pregnancy Technical Area PageWHO Malaria in Pregnant Women PageWHO IPTp Page, Roll Back Malaria MIP Working Group Infographic