Malaria in Pregnancy in Nigeria: A Literature Review
Malaria is caused by the parasite plasmodium which can be spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Of the five types of plasmodium (P. Falciparium, P.Ovale, P. Malaria, P. Vivax and P. Knowlesi), the plasmodium falciparium is the deadliest and affects the lives of almost 40 per cent of the world’s population with pregnant women and children under-five years of age being the most affected. This mini-review involved the collation of findings from recent studies in regards to the prevalence of malaria infection among pregnant women and infants. A systematic analysis of recent literature on the prevalence of malaria in pregnancy from many authors was carried out and the facts synthesized to make an easy read. From the analysis of literature, Ten Thousand women and 200,000 babies were reported to be dying annually from complications of malaria in pregnancy which recorded a prevalence of 85 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa. More so, Fifty per cent of pregnant women were discovered to be carrying plasmodium falciparium in their placenta without even experiencing malaria signs/ symptoms, and this development was reported to have been responsible for Twenty per cent of stillbirths and 11 per cent of all maternal deaths. Malaria infection is considered a major threat to the lives and well-being of pregnant women and infants. Therefore, stakeholders should ensure that every clinical diagnosis of malaria in pregnancy is confirmed with a laboratory plasmodium falciparium-based diagnosis before the administration of antimalarial drugs. Furthermore there should be a stepping –up on the distribution of insecticide treated nets alongside enlightenment of pregnant women on ways of preventing mosquito bite. Instituting the aforementioned approaches is key to improving the health- seeking behaviour of pregnant women in particular and the wider population in general thus enabling them to stay malaria free throughout the period of pregnancy and infancy.
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