Prevalence of malaria among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in hospitals in Anambra State, south-east, Nigeria
Malaria is a chronic parasitic disease that affects everybody but with pregnant women and children under the age of 5 years as its main target. The adverse complications of malaria in pregnancy makes it of immense public health importance. This study was designed to evaluate the prevalence of malaria among antenatal seeking pregnant women in Anambra State, south-east Nigeria. A total of 700 women aged 17-45 years were randomly recruited. Structured questionnaires were self-administered to obtain information on biodata. Blood samples were collected through venipuncture under sterile conditions and examined for malaria parasites using rapid immuno-diagnostic method and Giemsa stained thin and thick blood smears. The result showed that of 700 pregnant women, 512 (73.1%) were malaria parasite positive, indicating a prevalence rate of 73.1%. Malaria prevalence was significantly higher in women of younger age groups than older women (p<0.05) and primigravid women than multigravidae (p<0.05). Malaria prevalence also varied significantly between the different study locations (p<0.05), between women of different occupational groups (p<0.05), between women of different educational background (p<0.05), between women residing in different residential accommodations (p<0.05), and between the three trimesters of pregnancy (p<0.05). The prevalence of malaria among pregnant women was quite high and varied significantly according to the location/accommodation, mother’s age, parity, gestational age, occupational age and the level of education. Malaria control in pregnancy is necessary so as to reduce the incidence of adverse pregnancy complications.
Keywords: malaria, prevalence, pregnant women, Anambra State, Nigeria