Malaria in Pregnancy

Every day, doctors in the main hospital in Lubumbashi, which is in Katanga province in the south of the country, treat dozens of pregnant women - who, like children, are especially vulnerable to malaria.

In Africa, malaria infection in pregnancy is a major threat to the lives of mothers, fetuses, and infants. In line with WHO guidelines, PMI supports a three-pronged approach to reducing malaria in pregnancy: (1) provision and promotion of ITN use, (2) administration of intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp), and (3) prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment of malaria and anemia. In 2012, WHO revised its guidelines for IPTp to recommend providing the drug sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) at every scheduled ANC visit after the first trimester, with doses administered at least one month apart.

In all countries where IPTp is recommended, PMI supports strengthening and expanding preventive activities for malaria in pregnancy as part of a partnership between national malaria control, reproductive health, and maternal and child health programs. PMI-supported activities include: procuring and strengthening the supply chain for SP, ITNs, and other essential commodities; training and supervising health workers on IPTp guidance to strengthen the ANC delivery platform; implementing BCC activities to improve uptake of IPTp and ITNs by pregnant women; contributing to global policies on malaria in pregnancy; and supporting operations research to improve intervention coverage.  

Photo source: Felix Seuffert/UNICEF