Malaria Wrecks Havoc On Pregnant Women & Unborn Babies

Malaria infection during pregnancy can have adverse effects on both mother, fetus including maternal anaemia, fatal loss, premature delivery, intrauterine growth retardation as well as delivery of low birth, research conducted by Noguchi Memorial Medical Research has revealed.

It is on these premise that the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research has launch a project dubbed: Intermittent Preventive Treatment of malaria in pregnancy( IPTp).

IPTp, according to the research is a proven cost-effective intervention for preventing malaria in pregnancy and it entails administration of a curative dose of an effective anti-malarial drug to all pregnant women whether or not they are infected with the malaria parasite.

The project according to medical experts provides an opportunity to establish and renew contacts and discuss problems of mutual interest in the healthcare sector. The principal investigator for the project professor Isabella A. Quakyi in her welcome address, noted that the overall objective of this expert mission is to conduct an inter-disciplinary assessment on the implementation of IPTp which include the recent amendment to it in Ghana .

The purpose she said is to access coverage, adherence and determinants of treatment, failures and the beneficial effects of IPTp in Ghana which will inform national policy as well as to strengthen exiting health interventions and help fashion new ones.

Prof. Quakyi further noted that the project would cover a wider range of interesting issues and relates ultimately to the control of prevention of malaria disease burden in sub-Saharan Africa with particular reference to pregnant women and their unborn babies.

Expected Impact of IPTp
Dr. Gloria Quansah Asare swho spoke on behalf of Ghana Health Service Deputy Director General said approximately 780 million persons are at risk of malaria in endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

She said an estimated 32 million pregnant women could benefit from IPTp each year, adding that World Health Organization recommends IPTp with sulfadoxine-pyrimthamine (IPTp –SP) in all areas with moderate to high transmission in Africa.

She indicated that the research would contribute to the national policy for the care and protection of fatal growth and the safety of the pregnant women on IPTp.

Dr. Quansah Asare said the project would be a paradigm shift from malaria control to malaria prevention in the near future and support the collective efforts at advancing an effective vaccine against malaria in Ghana.

She further assured the team of the ministry and the Ghana health service of full support for the project.

Capacity Building Under the Project
Among the many capacity building under the project include: expect level interactions between French and Ghanaian health including research professionals.

This is mainly through information exchange and sharing of best practices, enhancing capacity of maternal health care givers in study facilities through orientation sessions involving mainly nurses and midwives in maternity and antenatal health delivery ,training of laboratory staff ,students and research assistants in epidemiology, molecular parasitology and social anthropology.

According to the lead consultant to the project, Professor Kwabena Bosompem, the key deliverables of the project includes protocol validation and ethics ,data collection at health facility levels, accurate evaluation of gestational period of pregnant women and estimation of the impact of malaria infection on the mother and the health of the child.

About 30 people are expected to be involved in the training. The two centres that would be involved in the project are the Kpone health centres and the Maamobi polyclinic.

The project implementation team include French Government and Research Institute for Development (IRD) and all collaborating institutions Ghana Health Service, University of Ghana, School of Public Health, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, School of Nursing and the community members of the research field sites.

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