Malaria among antenatal clients attending primary health care facilities in Kano state, Nigeria
Background: Malaria in pregnancy remains a major public health problem especially in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the prevalence of clinical and asymptomatic infection among antenatal client (ANC) attendees is largely unknown, especially at primary health care (PHC) level in northern Nigeria. This study assessed the prevalence of fever, malarial parasitemia and anemia among pregnant women attending PHC facilities in Kano, northern Nigeria.
Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted among 360 ANCs attending PHC facilities in two Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Kano state. Data were collected using a pre-tested semi-structured interviewer administered questionnaire. Blood samples were also obtained for thin blood smear for malaria parasite using Giemsa staining technique. Hemoglobin was estimated from the Packed Cell Volume (PCV) determined using hematocrit.
Results: Age of the subjects ranged from 15 to 42 years with a mean } SD of 24.0 } 6.0. Up to 39.2% (n = 141) (95% Confi dence Interval = 22.214.171.124%) of the subjects were found to have malarial parasitemia. Exactly 36.2% (n = 51) of those with parasitemia had fever (temperature . 37.5oC) while 63.8% (n = 90) of them were asymptomatic. Anemia,
(hemoglobin of .11 g/dl) was found in 48.1% (n = 173) of the respondents. A higher proportion of primigravid and secondigravid clients (61% vs. 39%) and younger pregnant women (54.6% vs. 45.4%) had malarial parasitemia compared to multigravid and older women, respectively. Similarly, a signifi cantly higher proportion (67.6%) of
anemic ANC clients had malarial parasitemia. (ƒÔ2 = 113.25, df = 1, P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Malarial infection is common among the ANC clients attending PHC facilities in Kano state and the infection is commonly associated with anemia. Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPT) should be provided especially among primigravid, secondigravid and younger mothers at PHC centres.