The role of prophylactic antimalarial in the reduction of placental parasitemia among pregnant women in Calabar, Nigeria
Introduction: Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine is a recommendation of the World Health Organization as part of the malaria control strategy in pregnancy in areas with malaria burden.
Aim: This study set out to appraise the effectiveness of this regimen in the prevention of placental parasitemia among parturients in Calabar, Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: Pretested, precoded questionnaires were administered to eligible women at the antenatal clinic and later updated at the labor ward. Intermittent preventive treatment was administered under direct observation at the clinic, while packed cell volume, placental parasitemia, and other laboratory tests were measured at the labor ward.
Results: The gross presence of placental malaria in the intermittent preventive treatment (IPT)-treated and the control groups was 10.6% and 11.3% respectively (P=0.76). Anemia occurred in 3.1% of the IPT-treated group compared to 11.7% among the control group (P=0.000). Only 7.9% of the IPT-treated women had moderate to severe placental parsitemia whereas as many as 53.2% of women in the control group had moderate to severe parasitemia (P=0.000).
Conclusion: Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine was associated with significant reduction in the degree of placental parasitemia among women in the IPTtreated group, although it did not completely eradicate placental malaria in the treatment group.
Key words: Intermittent preventive treatment, malaria in pregnancy, placental parasitemia