Malaria in Pregnancy
The devastating consequences of malaria in pregnancy (MIP) are well documented. In areas of stable transmission, they include higher rates of maternal anemia and low birth weight babies; in areas of unstable transmission, they include increased risk of severe malaria and death for a pregnant woman, and still birth for a fetus. Approximately 11% of neonatal deaths in malaria endemic African countries are due to low birth weight resulting from Plasmodium falciparum infections in pregnancy.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a three-pronged approach to control MIP in areas of high to moderate malaria transmission:
- Administration of IPTp as early as possible in the second trimester and at every scheduled antenatal care visit thereafter, at least one month apart;
- Promotion of use of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets during and following pregnancy; and
- Effective case management among pregnant women showing signs and symptoms of the disease.
The Program supports this approach on a platform of focused antenatal care, recognizing that the majority of pregnant women will attend one (and often two) antenatal care visits. As a part of this endeavor, MCSP developed a job aid based on WHO guidance for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria among women of reproductive age (available in English, French, and Portuguese). We provide global level leadership and country level technical assistance to drive the MIP agenda forward and accelerate related programming across countries.
At the global level — through the Roll Back Malaria MIP Working Group — MCSP fosters dialogue among key stakeholders to increase the commitment and support for MIP programming, and to ensure that WHO technical guidance and policies are disseminated to countries. At the country level, we support MIP programming through a core set of interventions that help to strengthen health systems, build capacity, and sustain results — across the continuum of care — resulting in high-quality MIP services. This includes work in Nepal, where MCSP is entering the “elimination phase” in the fight against malaria.