Dec 31, 2010, 11:56 AM
The efforts of the WHO and the Global Fund in fighting malaria continue to go from strength to strength. The concentration on Intermittent Preventive Treatment in pregnancy (IPTP) is very positive indeed. The method involves the administration of full treatment (curative) of efficacious anti - malarial, example sulphadoxine - phrementhamine (SP) at specific intervals.
In order to reduce the adverse consequences of malaria during pregnancy, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a three pronged approach. This includes insecticide treated nets (ITN); personal protection against Mosquito bites is strongly advised involving practices such as; the use of protective clothing to cover the arms and legs;
mosquito netting over doors, windows and beds and improvements in the environment specifically directed at reducing the breeding sites of mosquitoes. These are all practical solutions that people can practice with little effort but that yield excellent results. Among the benefits of IPTP are that it requires no laboratory investigation for malaria.
It reduces parasite levels during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. It reduces the prevalence of maternal anemia at term pregnancy and reduces the prevalence of IUGR/prematurity.
In The Gambia, more than 96% of pregnant women attend routine antenatal care (ANC) clinic at least once during pregnancy making a clinic -based IPTP approach feasible. For this reason it is a very practical and worthwhile solution. The scourge of malaria during pregnancy is a threat to our national development so a system such as this one, with a proven track record, is an excellent option for us here in The Gambia. If we continue to support measures such as this method then we will reap the benefits in a short period of time. We can achieve this laudable goal through the support of our friends and a careful adherence to the concept outlined above.
"It is not to live but to be healthy that makes a life."