Anaemia among pregnant women with asymptomatic malaria parasitemia at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria
Anemia in pregnancy, in malaria endemic areas is a public health challenge that has contributed either directly or indirectly to maternal morbidity and mortality in our environment. However, anemia and malaria during pregnancy are highly preventable and treatable. The aim of this study is to assess the prevalence of anemia in asymptomatic malaria parasitemic pregnant women at antenatal care visits in a tertiary hospital facility. Following ethical considerations and informed consent by participants, two hundred and forty six (246) pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic were tested for malaria parasites using Giemsa stained thick blood films. The packed cell volume (PCV) of the women was also tested and matched with their infection status. The findings showed that malaria parasitaemia and intensity are dependent on pregnancy and parity of pregnancy (p < 0.05). The mean age of participants was 30.3 3.0 years. An overall prevalence of 65.9% of malaria parasite infection was observed in pregnant women. The prevalence of anemia in the study population was 39.6%. Parity was significantly associated with the prevalence of asymptomatic malaria among pregnant women ( P ≤ 0.01). Anaemia was therefore dependent on infection status and pregnancy status (p ≤ 0.05). The effects of malaria and its clinical features (especially anaemia) on the mother and foetus was again re-stressed with emphasis on availability, affordability and sustainability of malaria control efforts especially for the most vulnerable populations. The study will be of immense value as a public health tool for planning, delivery, diagnosis, monitoring and evaluation of interventions.
Keywords: Prevalence, anaemia, pregnancy, asymptomatic, malaria, parasitemia