Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Arizona Study Shows that Malaria Remains a Major Concern among Pregnant Women in Southeast Nigeria

Malaria adversely affects pregnant women and their fetuses or neonates. Estimates of the malaria burden in pregnant women based on health facilities often do not present a true picture of the problem due to the low proportion of women delivering at these facilities in malaria-endemic regions. Led by Dr. Jayleen Gunn of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics, investigators at the University of Arizona examined data on malaria parasitemia among pregnant women aged 17-45 years who were recruited from churches in Enugu State, Nigeria.

Malaria parasitemia was classified as high and low based on the malaria plus system. Of the 2,069 pregnant women for whom malaria parasitemia levels were recorded, over 99 percent tested positive for malaria parasitemia, 62 percent showed low parasitemia and 38 percent high parasitemia. After controlling for confounding variables, odds for high parasitemia were lower among those who had more people in the household (for every one person increase in a household, OR = 0.94, 95 percent CI 0.89-0.99). The findings of this study are consistent with hospital-based estimates of malaria during pregnancy in southeastern Nigeria. The investigators conclude that based on the high prevalence of malaria parasitemia in this sample, education on best practices to prevent malaria during pregnancy, and resources in support of these practices are urgently needed.

The article was published in the November issue of the Malaria Journal with the following citation: Gunn JK, Ehiri JE, Jacobs ET, Ernst KC, Pettygrove S, Kohler LN, Haenchen SD, Obiefune MC, Ezeanolue CO, Ogidi AG, Ezeanolue EE. Population-based prevalence of malaria among pregnant women in Enugu State, Nigeria: the Healthy Beginning Initiative. Malar J. 2015 Nov 5;14(1):438. doi: 10.1186/s12936-015-0975-x.

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