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Malaria among primigravid women attending antenatal clinics in Awka, Anambra State, south-east Nigeria
Two hundred and eighty-seven primigravid women attending antenatal clinic in private hospitals in Awka were sampled for
malaria infection of the placenta in 2004. Thick blood films were prepared and examined using blood from the placenta, after
delivery. The birth-weight of newborns by the primigravids were obtained and matched with the malaria status of the mother.
The result showed that 189 (66.0%) were positive for placental malaria. The birth-weight of newborns from mothers positive
for Plasmodium ranges from 1.9-3.2 kg with a mean of 2.7 kg, while that from mothers negative for Plasmodium ranges from
3.2-4.4 kg with a mean of 3.8 kg. There was significant difference between the birth-weight of newborns from mothers with
placental malaria and those with no placental malaria. Placental malaria was therefore responsible to low birth-weight babies.
There is therefore an urgent need to study and improve on intermittent preventive treatment of primigravids in other to limit
adverse outcomes associated with placental malaria.
Keywords: primigravid women, malaria infection of the placenta, newborns, low birth-weight babies.
Nigerian Journal of Parasitology Vol. 28 (1) 2007: pp.25-27