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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 57  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 208-212

The relationship between malaria parasitemia, malaria preventive measures and average birth weight of babies in a tertiary facility in Owerri, Nigeria

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Nigeria
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Imo State University Teaching Hospital, Orlu, Imo, Nigeria
3 Department of Community Medicine, Imo State University Teaching Hospital, Orlu, Imo, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
A O Onyegbule
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Federal Medical Centre, Owerri
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0300-1652.188327

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Background: Despite the global efforts made to eradicate malaria, it continues to be a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in both neonates and the parturients. This study was done to determine the relationship between placental parasitemia, average neonatal birth weight and the relationship between the use of malaria preventive measures and the occurrence of placental parasitemia with the aim to improving maternal and neonatal outcome. Patients and Methods: This cross-sectional study was done at the labor ward unit of the Federal Medical Center, Owerri, from December 2013 to May 2014. It involved one hundred and eighty primigravidae and baby pairs recruited consecutively. Thick and thin blood films were made from maternal peripheral blood and placenta. The babies were examined and weighed immediately after delivery. Results: Most of the participants had only one dose of intermittent preventive therapy (75%) with statistically significant higher level of fever episodes (P < 0.0001). Forty participants (58.0%) did not use any form of malaria preventive measure in pregnancy (P < 0.0001) and had a significantly higher placental parasitemia when compared with their counterparts. Average birth weight of neonates with placental parasitemia in mothers who used intermittent presumptive therapy (IPT) only (t = 2.22, P = 0.005), and IPT + insecticide-treated net (ITN) (t = 7.91, P ≤ 0.000) was significantly higher than those who did not use any form of malaria prevention in pregnancy (t = 4.69, P ≤ 0.0001). Conclusion: Primigravidae with placental or maternal peripheral parasitemia who failed to use malaria preventive measures delivered babies with reduced average birth weight. A scheme aimed at making ITN readily available, and improving the girl child education is highly recommended.

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