Coverage of malaria protection in pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa: a synthesis and analysis of national survey data

1st March 2011
van Eijk AM, Hill J, Alegana VA, Kirui V, Gething PW, ter Kuile FO, Snow RW.
BACKGROUND:

Insecticide-treated nets and intermittent preventive treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine are recommended for the control of malaria during pregnancy in endemic areas in Africa, but there has been no analysis of coverage data at a subnational level. We aimed to synthesise data from national surveys about these interventions, accounting for disparities in malaria risk within national borders.

METHODS:

We extracted data for specific strategies for malaria control in pregnant women from national malaria policies from endemic countries in Africa. We identified the most recent national household cluster-sample surveys recording intermittent preventive treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and use of insecticide-treated nets. We reconciled data to subnational administrative units to construct a model to estimate the number of pregnant women covered by a recommended intervention in 2007.

FINDINGS:

45 (96%) of 47 countries surveyed had a policy for distribution of insecticide-treated nets for pregnant women; estimated coverage in 2007 was 4·7 million (17%) of 27·7 million pregnancies at risk of malaria in 32 countries with data. 39 (83%) of 47 countries surveyed had an intermittent preventive treatment policy; in 2007, an estimated 6·4 million (25%) of 25·6 million pregnant women received at least one dose of treatment and 19·8 million (77%) visited an antenatal clinic (31 countries). Estimated coverage was lowest in areas of high-intensity transmission of malaria.

INTERPRETATION:

Despite success in a few countries, coverage of insecticide-treated nets and intermittent preventive treatment in pregnantAfrican women is inadequate; increased efforts towards scale-up are needed.

FUNDING:

The Malaria in Pregnancy Consortium and Wellcome Trust.