The World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Malaria Report 2019 shows that in 2018, an estimated 11 million pregnant women were infected with malaria in areas of moderate and high disease transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, nearly 900,000 children were born with a low birthweight. However, an estimated 61% of pregnant women and children in sub-Saharan Africa were sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets, compared with 216% in 2010, while access to preventive medicine for malaria has increased significantly in recent years.
Pregnancy reduces a woman’s immunity to malaria, making her more susceptible to infection and at greater risk of illness, severe anaemia and death. Maternal malaria also interferes with the growth of the fetus, increasing the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight, which are leading causes of child mortality.
Despite the encouraging signs seen in the use of preventive tools in pregnant women and children, there was no improvement in the global rate of malaria infections in the period 2014 to 2018.
Further details and guidance can be found on the TRAVAX (for health professionals) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.
Source: WHO, 4 December 2019