News / Health

Study: Pregnant Women Not Gaining Access to Malaria Prevention

FILE - A child rests under a mosquito net in Marka's main hospital in Somalia, December 18, 2012.FILE - A child rests under a mosquito net in Marka's main hospital in Somalia, December 18, 2012.
x
FILE - A child rests under a mosquito net in Marka's main hospital in Somalia, December 18, 2012.
FILE - A child rests under a mosquito net in Marka's main hospital in Somalia, December 18, 2012.
Jessica Berman
Malaria infections, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, are responsible for the deaths of some 200,000 newborns and 10,000 new mothers each year. The parasitic illness can also cause miscarriage and premature birth, increasing the risk of death. There are low cost, lifesaving interventions to prevent infection, yet, according to a new study, there are significant barriers to implementing them.  

For the past 20 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that pregnant women in areas with high rates of malaria receive insecticide-treated bed nets and periodic doses of a cheap drug to prevent the disease.
 
Yet, despite relatively high attendance at clinics for expectant mothers and their newborns throughout sub-Saharan Africa, statistics show that just a little over 21 percent of women are receiving intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy, or IPT, and fewer than 40 percent of them are being given protective bed nets.

Jenny Hill of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine is program manager for a research partnership called the Malaria and Pregnancy Consortium.  

Hill says an analysis of 98 studies found a number of barriers to malaria prevention, including unclear policy and guidance from government ministers and health care officials and, at the clinical level, lack of clean water, drug shortages and confusion about procedures for administering IPT.

“They were unclear on when to give it in terms of gestational age of pregnancy and whether it could be given to women on an empty stomach, whether it should be given under observation in clinics, and so on and so forth," she said. "So quite a few of those barriers were around lack of clear policy and guidance.”

The WHO recommends that expectant women receive IPT during regular visits to pre-natal clinic, usually around four times in the course of a pregnancy.
 
Free intermittent preventive treatment of pregnancy is the policy in 37 countries across the region, according to Hill.  Yet, investigators found pre-natal clinics, known as ANCs, posed economic obstacles which discouraged women from coming back.

“When they arrive at the clinic for a first ANC visit they have to register, and that requires a registration fee," she said. "And there are also fees around getting lab tests and around some drugs.”

Hill says countries can reduce the number of deaths and pre-term births due to malaria by ensuring the WHO policy on IPT is fully implemented, earmarking more money for drugs so there’s no shortage, and publicizing the importance of malaria prevention among women at highest risk for the parasitic illness.

“They are very powerful interventions that could go a long way to reducing the burden of malaria and improving the outcomes, both in pregnant women and their infants,” she said.

An analysis of maternal and infant malaria prevention measures is published in the journal PLoS Medicine.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs