Prevalence of falciparum malaria amongst pregnant women in Aba South Local Government Area, Abia State, Nigeria
Malaria during pregnancy poses a substantial risk to mother and foetus especially an infection with Plasmodium falciparum. This study was undertaken to assess the prevalence of falciparum malaria among pregnant women in Aba South Local Government Area, Abia State, south-east Nigeria. Blood samples from 432 pregnant women who attended Primary Health Care Centre and Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH) were examined using Giemsa stained thick and thin films. Structured questionnaires were also administered to the women from whom blood samples were collected. A total of 173 (40.0%) were found to be infected with P. falciparum. It was the only type of malaria parasite species encountered. Distribution of infection among age groups was highest 12 (60.0%) among age group 15-20 years and lowest 121 (36.7%) among age group 26 years and above with significant difference (p<0.05). Occupational distribution showed that traders had the highest prevalence 88 (63.3%) while students were least infected 21 (17.9%) with significant difference (p<0.05). Primigravida had the highest prevalence rate of 99 (50.3%) while multigravida had the lowest rate 38 (27.1%) with significant difference (p<0.05). Respondents who were at their first trimester also showed a high prevalence rate 69 (56.6%) while those in their third trimester were least infected 28 (30.1%) with significant difference (p<0.05). It is therefore necessary to design an effective public health education programme targeted at this high risk group and also instituting an intermittent preventive treatment in hospitals and health centres in Aba South LGA that is known to have a high malaria prevalence.
Keywords: Prevalence; malaria; pregnant women; trimester; Aba; Nigeria.