Pregnant women are often given inappropriate treatment for malaria

A thin-film Giemsa stained micrograph of ring-forms, and gametocytes of Plasmodium falciparum. Image: CDC

Not all pregnant women with symptoms of malaria seek care from their formal healthcare system and if they do seek care, they may be given inappropriate treatment because healthcare providers often fail to adhere to the standard (World Health Organization-WHO) diagnostic and treatment guidelines, according to a study by UK researchers published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

The authors (led by Jenny Hill from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine) reached these conclusions by reviewing all relevant studies that investigated the factors that affect 's access to and healthcare provider practices for case management of malaria during pregnancy.

In the 37 included studies (mostly from Africa), the authors found that one-quarter to three-quarters of women reported malaria episodes during pregnancy and more than 85% of the women who reported a malaria episode during pregnancy sought some form of treatment. Barriers to access to WHO-recommended treatment among women included poor knowledge about drug safety, and the use of self-treatment practices such as taking herbal remedies. Among , barriers included reliance on clinical diagnosis of malaria and poor adherence to the treatment policy.

Although limited by the sparseness of data and by inconsistencies in study methodologies, these findings highlight the need to develop interventions to improve access to and delivery of quality case management of malaria among pregnant women.

The authors conclude: "A systematic assessment of the extent of substandard case management practices of malaria in pregnant women is required, as well as quality improvement interventions that reach all providers administering antimalarial drugs in the community."

They add: "Pregnant women need access to information on which anti-malarial drugs are safe to use at different stages of pregnancy."

More information: Hill J, D'Mello-Guyett L, Hoyt J, van Eijk AM, ter Kuile FO, et al. (2014) Women's Access and Provider Practices for the Case Management of Malaria during Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS Med 11(8): e1001688. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001688

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Men's immunity could be key to new malaria drugs

Mar 12, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—A University of Alberta researcher's discovery about how malaria affects men could mean the difference between life and death for pregnant women in Colombia.

Chloroquine makes comeback to combat malaria

Oct 03, 2012

Malaria-drug monitoring over the past 30 years has shown that malaria parasites develop resistance to medicine, and the first signs of resistance to the newest drugs have just been observed. At the same time, resistance monitoring ...

Recommended for you

Researchers ferret out a flu clue

6 hours ago

Research that provides a new understanding as to why ferrets are similar to humans is set to have major implications for the development of novel drugs and treatment strategies.

In the battle against Ebola, a double-layer solution

9 hours ago

When working with Ebola patients, protective gear works, but removing it can be harrowing. Seeking to protect health care workers from the precarious nature of taking off soiled gloves, Cornell students have ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.