Category Archives: Malaria in Pregnancy

Zero Malaria Starts with Universal Coverage: Part 2 Preventive and Curative Treatments

April hosts several important global health days or observances. On World Health Day 2019 WHO stressed that, “Universal health coverage (UHC) is WHO’s number one goal. Key to achieving it is ensuring that everyone can obtain the care they need, when they need it, right in the heart of the community.” Nationwide monitoring through the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), the Malaria Indicator Surveys (MIS) and the Multi-Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) can document the status of appropriate malaria treatment and intermittent preventive treatment in pregnant women (IPTp).

Definitions of indicators have evolved for treatment-related malaria interventions. When Intermittent Preventive Treatment for pregnant women (IPTp) began in the early 2000s, the recommended dosing was twice during pregnancy after the first trimester one month apart in high and/or stable transmission areas. Due to lessening efficacy of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), the dosage recommendation has changed to at least three times, still a month apart from the beginning of the second trimester.

This updated policy was broadcast widely between 2012 and 2013, but it took countries some time to build capacity and scale up for the expanded coverage goals. UNICEF Data5 again show that between 2014 and 2017 coverage was far below either 80% of pregnant women, let alone reaching them universally (Figure 2). Most countries achieved 30% or less coverage. Zambia at 50% was the highest. Low coverage leaves both pregnant women and the unborn child at risk for anemia and death in the former and low birth weight, still birth or miscarriage for the latter. The World Malaria Report of 2018 estimates that three doses of IPTp were received by only 22% of pregnant women in the target countries in 2017.

The concept of IPT was investigated for infants and children during by a consortium of researchers in several African Countries. It was found that IPTi with SP could have a positive effect on preventing malaria. To operationalize this concept, the World Health Organization developed what is known as Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) that would be delivered in the Sahel region of West Africa where malaria transmission itself is seasonal and where there are some countries with very low transmission with implications for malaria elimination.

The SMC delivery process was not linked to immunization but provided by community health workers and volunteers. SP and Amodiaquine (SP-AQ) were used in combination and provided monthly, three or four times during the rainy/high transmission season. Coverage was targeted at children below school age. It is only recently that SMC has been scaled up to reach all eligible countries or states and regions within designated countries.

WHO states that SMC focuses on, “children aged 3–59 months (and) reduces the incidence of clinical attacks and severe malaria by about 75%.” In some countries the coverage is extended to primary school aged children, making comparisons and calculations of coverage (universal por otherwise) challenging.

The World Malaria Report of 2018 notes that, “In 2017, 15.7 million children in 12 countries in Africa’s Sahel subregion were protected through seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) programs. However, about 13.6 million children who could have benefited from this intervention were not covered, mainly due to a lack of funding.” This implies that 54% of eligible children were reached.  Coverage of SMC can refer to receiving any of the doses or as having received all the monthly doses offered by a nation’s malaria control program. Specifically, the World Malaria Report 2018 drew on surveys in 7 countries that provided 4 monthly doses to determine that 53% of children received all doses.

Determining coverage for malaria treatment for sick people is not as straightforward as finding out the numbers who slept under an ITN or swallowed IPTp doses, and even those are not simple. As defined, correct treatment first consists of parasitological diagnosis, which at the primary care level could be by microscopy or rapid diagnostic test (RDT). The next issue is treating only those with positive tests. Finally, the treatment must consist of age- or weight-specific doses of an approved artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) drug. Very few clinic records or surveys document whether the treatment given is ‘correct’ by these standards.

WHO addresses the need for achieving universal access to malaria diagnostic testing and notes this will not be easy. They provide a successful example of Senegal, where following the introduction of malaria RDTs in 2007, malaria diagnostic testing rates rose rapidly from 4% to 86% (by 2009). Logistics, funding, training and supportive supervision complicate implementation.

UNICEF Data report that performance of malaria diagnostics in febrile children in surveys between 2014-17 was approximately 30% on average for countries with national surveys within that time frame (Figure 3). Only 4 countries achieved 50% or better. Most surveys then go on to report the number of febrile children who received ACTs, but do not necessary indicate how many who were correctly diagnoses were given ACTs vs those who received ACT but did not receive a test or tested negative.

The Nigeria 2015 Malaria Indicator Survey Illustrates this dilemma. Among 2600 children who reported having a fever in the two weeks preceding the survey, 66.1% sought advice (or care). Overall, 12.6% of febrile children received a diagnostic test as defined in the question as to whether the child was stuck on the finger or heel to obtain blood. Among the febrile children 37.6% reportedly were given some type of antimalarial drug. Overall 15.5% of febrile children were given an ACT. Even if ACTs were given only to tested children, not all tests would have been positive.

The overall implication of measuring treatment without a link to testing is that if more children receive any, let alone the correct drugs, is that evidence for actual presence of disease. We have a long way to go to measure malaria treatment coverage correctly, not to mention achieving universal coverage with appropriate treatment. Different malaria treatment-related interventions with different steps and different target groups in different regions of Africa and the World make defining, no less achieving UHC, a huge challenge.

Scaling up Malaria in Pregnancy Prevention at the Community Level

Community meeting to introduce community based IPTp

Elaine Roman and Kristin Vibbert of the Jhpiego malaria team describe below an important community-based intervention to prevent malaria in pregnancy. Follow their links to learn more.

The World Health Organization (WHO) 2018 World Malaria Report revealed that of 33 countries where intermittent preventive treatment (with sulfadoxine-

Quality Assured SP Packets

pyrimethamine/SP) is recommended for pregnant women, only 22% of eligible pregnant women received three doses of intermittent preventive treatment during pregnancy (IPTp3) with SP in 2017 (). Therefore, it is crucial that innovative interventions to scale up the provision of IPTp are needed to protect lives of mothers, fetuses and newborns.

The Transforming Intermittent Preventive Treatment for Optimal Pregnancy (TIPTOP), a five-year project, is one such innovative effort that aims to contribute to reduced maternal and neonatal mortality in four countries: DRC, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Nigeria by expanding access to quality-assured (QA) SP.

TIPTOP Infographic

The TIPTOP project is implementing a community-based approach to expand coverage of IPTp3 to a minimum of 50% in project areas, helping to reach the hardest-to-reach pregnant women and to ensure there are no missed opportunities for pregnant women to receive QA SP. Through rigorous research and routine monitoring, TIPTOP will generate evidence for WHO to inform a potential policy decision on global intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy.

TIPTOP is also setting the stage for scale up, supporting Ministries of Health to pilot test SP distribution at the community level in settings that will not only yield quality data in real-life program settings but also lend to program learning, including documenting best practices and lessons learned. Further, in coordination with Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), TIPTOP is creating demand for and expanding access to QA SP.

Now that procurement, training, supervision, community education, monitoring and evaluation systems are nearly built, full implementation on the ground will be phased in over the next few months.

Tanzania: Slow Progress in Preventing Malaria

The full 2017 Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS) results have been published for Tanzania providing an opportunity to look at the findings in more detail. Several important factors need highlighting since Tanzania is part of a regional block where some countries are activly considering malaria elimination – the E8 countries of the Southern Africa Development Community.

So far Tanzania has come close to achieving a target of 80% of households owning insecticide treated nets (ITNs) with 78% on the mainland and 79% in Zanzibar. A closer look shows that there is still a ways to go to get to universal coverage or at least one net for every two persons in the household. With this indicator 45% of mainland and 42% of Zanzibar households have met the target, meaning that there are unprotected people in a majority of households across the country. This indicator experienced a drop from a 2011 “high” of 56%, a drop to 39% in 2015 and a slight recovery to 45% in 2017.

Even the universal coverage target requires that people actually sleep under the nets. What the MIS report shows is that although 63% of people had access to an ITN, only 52% reported sleeping under one the night before the survey.

Equity remains an issue with 69% of households in the lowest wealth quintile owning at least one net compared to 81% and 83% in the middle and fourth quintiles. Although households in the highest quintile had 78% ownership, this group is more likely to live in better quality housing that prevents the ingress of most mosquitoes. Also residents in urban areas have an edge over rural counterparts in terms of net access.

The report show that 55% of children under 5 years of age and 51% of pregnant women slept under an ITN. This is down from 72% and 75% respectively in 2011.

We learn that 90% of existing nets were obtained through some form of public sector campaign including mass distribution (62%), village coupons redeemable at health centers (15%), and school campaigns (4%). Only 5% were obtained through routine services (ANC, child immunization) indicating that efforts to ‘keep up’ after mass campaigns need to be strengthened. The 10% of nets, whether treated or not, that were obtained in shops and markets cost the owner in the neighborhood of US$5.00.

Uptake of doses of intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in pregnancy has slowly but steadily increased over the past 15 years and stood at 83% for one dose, 56% for two doses and 26% for three in this most recent MIS. With the current target being three or more doses needed for optimal protection, Tanzania still has a far long way to go, especially considering that accessing ITNs through ANC services is also low..

Improving Malaria through National Rollout of Malaria Service and Data Quality Improvement: A Case Study from Tanzania

Jasmine Chadewa, Chonge Kitojo, Goodluck Tesha, Naomi Kaspar, Lusekelo Njoge, Zahra Mkomwa, Dunstan Bishanga, George Greer, Abdallah Lusasi, and Sigsbert Mkude of the USAID Boresha Afya Project, the US President’s Malaria Initiative, the National Malaria Control Program, and the Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (Tanzanian Ministry of Health) shared how malaria data quality could be improved at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Below are their findings.

Tanzania has a high malaria burden (see Figure 1) and is facing an increased demand for health services. The Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MoHCDGEC) developed the Malaria Service and Data Quality Improvement (MSDQI) checklist to guide supportive supervision teams in evaluating the quality of malaria case management (MCM) services at facility level. MSDQI helps with the collection, monitoring, and evaluation of facility-based malaria performance indicators at all levels of service delivery that provide timely, accurate information and data for decision-making at district, regional, and national levels.

USAID Boresha Afya conducted MSDQI assessments in 1,222 health facilities in the Lake and Western zones in outpatient departments (OPDs) and during antenatal care (ANC). The program disseminates malaria and ANC guidelines, tablets, job aids, and standard operating procedures. It also continues to facilitate supportive supervision and mentorship through the MSDQI tool to build providers’ capacity in identified areas.

Among the challenges reported, Supervisors need to be trained in more than one module to reduce cost. There is turnover of MSDQI supervisors. Cases that come back positive for diseases other than malaria are not investigated further. The use of Android smartphones sometimes interfered with data collection and the reporting system. • Regions/districts depend on donor support to implement MSDQI activities.

In conclusion, effective implementation of the MSDQI tool requires regions, districts, and facilities to be well informed and given clear instruction so they can form supportive supervision teams. This should be done by:

  • Orienting teams on roles and responsibilities
  • Training teams on relevant competencies, resource allocation, and tablet

use for data collection

The team learned that MCM improved in OPDs and during ANC as a result of the MSDQI assessment. Improved access to quality MCM (diagnosis) nationwide. Frequency of malaria testing increased during the first ANC contact. Testing increased from 87% in April–June 2017 to 96% April–June 2018, a 9% change (see Figure 3). Second doses of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp2) coverage increased by 15% on average in Boresha Afya-supported regions between October 2016 and June 2018 (see Figure 4).

This presentation was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of USAID Boresha Afya and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States government.

Setting the Stage to Introduce a Groundbreaking Community Approach to Prevent Malaria in Pregnancy in Sub-Saharan Africa

Maya Tholandi, Lolade Oseni, Anne McKenna, Herbert Onuoha, Solofo Razakamiadana, Elsa Nhantumbo, Alain Mikato, Elaine Roman of Jhpiego and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shared important Baseline Readiness Assessment Findings from Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Nigeria from the UNITAID-supported TIPTOP on Intermittent Preventive Treatment of malaria in pregnancy at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene as seen below.

Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) is unacceptably low in most of sub-Saharan Africa. A Jhpiego-led consortium is implementing the Transforming Intermittent Preventive Treatment for Optimal Pregnancy (TIPTOP) project, which supports community distribution of quality-assured sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP).

TIPTOP aims to increase IPTp3 coverage from 19% to 50% of eligible pregnant women in project areas in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Madagascar, Mozambique, and Nigeria. The project, operating from 2017 to 2022, provides quality-assured SP, promotes community awareness, and supports supervision and coordination efforts between health facilities and community health workers (CHWs).

In 2017, a baseline assessment examined facility readiness for malaria in pregnancy management, antenatal care (ANC) provider knowledge, CHW characteristics and health facility linkages, and health management information system (HMIS) quality. TIPTOP assessed 140 facilities and interviewed 175 ANC providers and 67 CHW supervisors.

At project startup, the teams examined SP stock, ANC providers and CHW availability. SP Stock assessment showed a disparate stock maintenance processes and stock-out next steps indicate lack of a coherent and consistent approach to stock monitoring. In half of all cases, caregivers offer a prescription when stock is not available in the facility, with smaller numbers requesting.

Among ANC providers, 80% on average correctly reported that at least three doses of IPTp are recommended. On average, 64% correctly responded that SP should be initiated in the second trimester. Out of the 170 providers interviewed across countries, only five knew all the key signs of suspected malaria.

A low numbers of CHWs in some districts may limit their reach and capacity. Inadequate CHW education and ANC familiarity may diminish training effectiveness. In particular, low numbers of female CHWs may decrease community acceptance and pregnant women’s acceptability of receiving IPTp from CHWs.

Data Quality and Availability from the routine services would affect monitoring of interventions. Over-reporting of ANC contacts and IPTp service provision is a data quality challenge. The HMISs in Nigeria and Mozambique record IPTp3 provision, but only at the local level. Supervising facilities do not always review data before HMIS entry for accuracy.

Concerning Monitoring and Evaluation System Components, Mozambique’s HMIS is the strongest of the four countries in terms of linking to the national system, current tools and reporting forms available in the facilities, and providers reporting an understanding of indicators and data reporting processes. Nigerian facilities had limited knowledge of indicators and their definitions, despite this information being available in Federal Ministry of Health-provided registers. Madagascar struggled with indicator definitions and data management processes. DRC faced the most challenges: Tools and reporting forms were not available in health facilities, and there were limited monitoring and evaluation structures and processes.

In Conclusion, Results from the baseline assessment are Informing efforts to improve data quality and CHW facility data flow in TIPTOP implementation areas. There is need to strengthen ANC provider knowledge through TIPTOP-supported trainings. One also needs to address CHW variation by country and support health facilities to monitor their SP stock. These findings are being shared with ministries of health and key stakeholders to inform malaria implementation and data quality efforts.

Community Health Workers Can Enhance Coverage of Intermittent Preventive Treatment of Malaria in Pregnancy and Promote Antenatal Attendance

Among the poster presentations on malaria from Jhpiego, the President’s Malaria Initiative and partners at the 2018 ASTMH Annual Meeting, WR Brieger, J Tiendrebeogo, O Badolo, M Dodo, D Burke, K Vibbert, SJ Youll, and JR Gutman shared the findings from a 15-month intervention that tested the ability of community health workers to deliver intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy in 3 districts in Burkina Faso. Please check out the poster and talk to one of the co-investigators at Poster Session A on Monday 29 October. Their results are found below.

Malaria in pregnancy is responsible for a substantial proportion of low-birthweight and stillborn infants in sub-Saharan Africa. To prevent this, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that pregnant women receive intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) using sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. Specifically, WHO recommends an optimal three or more doses (e.g., IPTp3, IPTp4).

In stable malaria endemic countries, IPTp coverage remains unacceptably low, at around 19% for IPTp3. Community IPTp might provide an answer. Community delivery can improve coverage as seen in previous study in Nigeria and Malawi, but its effects on antenatal care (ANC) attendance have been mixed. Additional data are needed to determine whether delivery of IPTp-SP by community health workers (CHWs) is effective and does not detract from ANC attendance. Hence the Burkina Faso intervention was designed and implemented

The study piloted community delivery of IPTp (c-IPTp) in three districts of Burkina Faso with high malaria transmission: Po, Ouargaye, and Batie.  Four health facilities per district were randomly selected to participate (two intervention and two control).

In 2017, following a baseline household survey of women who recently became pregnant, implementation of c-IPTp began in intervention areas by existing CHWs trained and supervised by health staff. At Baseline in each of the three study districts, four health centers (CSPSs) and the villages in their catchment areas were selected—two as intervention and two as control. A random sample of 374 women who had been pregnant within the last 9 months were interviewed in CSPS catchment villages. There were no significant differences in ANC attendance (ANC1=90%, ANC4=62%) or IPTp coverage between intervention and control areas:

  • IPTp3 was 81% (intervention) and 86% (control).
  • IPTp4 was 22% (intervention) and 16% (control).

The Intervention consisted of building on Burkina Faso’s existing CHWs. They were trained and monitored by clinic staff. The CHWs encouraged women to attend the first ANC visit to obtain IPTp1. Then the CHWs provided monthly doses of IPTp, submitted monthly reports, and continued to promote ANC. ANC attendance and IPTp uptake were monitored through monthly clinic and CHW reports. The catchment area populations were roughly the same, and monitoring showed that the additional provision of IPTp by CHWs resulted in more women being reached while at the same time ANC attendance remained high.

An endline survey was conducted after 18 months of implementation. Changes over time were compared between baseline and endline in intervention versus control villages. Attendance at ANC1 and ANC4 increased in both groups between baseline and endline but was significantly better for the intervention group. Likewise, coverage of IPTp3 and IPTp4 increased between baseline and endline for intervention and control women, but the difference was significant only in the intervention areas.

Monthly monitoring of CHW and ANC registers and the household surveys both documented that community delivery of IPTp resulted in the desired increased uptake of services without detracting from ANC attendance. Community IPTp may be a promising strategy to improve coverage of IPTp.

This presentation was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under the terms of the Cooperative Agreement AID-OAA-A-14-00028. The contents are the responsibility of the Maternal and Child Survival Program and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

Malaria Featured in Jhpiego Sessions at ASTMH 2018

Below is a list of Jhpiego Sessions at this week’s American Society of Tropical Medicine Annual Meeting in New Orleans (28 October-1 November). Please attend if you are at the conference:

Poster Session A, Monday, October 29 (Posters in Marriott Grand Ballroom – 3rd Floor )

  • Poster Number 098: Performance of community health workers in providing integrated community case management services (iCCM) in 8 districts of Rwanda
  • Poster 380: Contribution of quarterly malaria data review and validation to data quality and malaria services Improvement
  • Poster LB-5117: Community based health workers can enhance coverage of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy and promote antenatal attendance

Poster Session B, Tuesday 30 October

  • Poster 1088: Assessing organizational capacity to deliver quality malaria services in rural Liberia
  • Poster 1092: Contribution of IMC project in transforming the face of malaria control for vulnerable populations in Burkina Faso
  • Poster 1093: Malaria response plan in times of high transmission: An approach to improving the quality of hospital malaria management
  • Poster 1111: Setting the stage to introduce a ground breaking approach to prevent malaria in pregnancy in Sub-Saharan Africa: baseline-readiness assessment findings from Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Nigeria
  • Poster 1337: Institutionalizing infection prevention and control practices in health facilities in Liberia following the Ebola epidemic

Scientific Session 87, Tuesday, 1:45 – 3:30 p.m. Marriott – La Galerie 1 & 2 – 2nd Floor: Improving procurement and redeployment of district level malaria commodities using SMS and web mapping in Madagascar

Poster Session C, Wednesday 31 October

  • Poster 1816: Experiences and perceptions of care seeking for febrile illness among caregivers and providers in 8 districts of Madagascar
  • Poster 1818: Improving adherence to national malaria treatment guidelines by village health workers in selected townships through a low-dose, high-frequency training approach
  • Poster 1819: Improving malaria case management through national roll-out of Malaria Service and Data Quality Improvement (MSDQI): A Case study from Tanzania
  • Poster 1820: Collaborative quality improvement framework to support data quality improvement, experience from 10 collaborative facilities in Uganda
  • Poster 1821: Using malaria death audits to improve malaria case management and prevent future malaria related preventable deaths
  • Poster 1833: Multiple approaches for malaria case management in the struggle to reach pre-elimination of malaria.

Scientific Session 182, Thursday, November 1, 10:15 am – 12:00 p.m. Marriott – Balcony I,J,K – 3rd Floor: Seasonal malaria chemoprevention, an effective intervention for reducing malaria morbidity and mortality

Could a Triple-Hit Hypothesis Explain the Pathway from Malaria in Pregnancy to Adverse Infant Neurodevelopmental Outcomes?

Harriet L. S. Lawford 1 , Mary C. Ghazawy 1 , Tessa R. Donaldson 2 , Jack Donaldson 3 , and  Samudragupta Bora 1 shared their researct at the Malaria World Congress in Melbourne this week and present their findings below.

  1. Mothers, Babies and Women’s Health Program, Mater Research Institute, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Australia
  2. Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
  3. Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Each year, millions of pregnant women in malaria-endemic areas are at risk of Plasmodium falciparum infection and the development of placental malaria. Given that malaria in pregnancy is known to contribute to a number of perinatal and infant deaths, this suggests that a significant proportion of live-births may have been exposed to placental malaria in utero. Whilst the neurodevelopmental consequences of cerebral malaria in children have been widely documented, there has been little focus on the impact of placental malaria on infant neurodevelopment.

This research gap is critical to address. Placental malaria is associated with adverse birth outcomes including preterm birth, low birthweight and intrauterine growth restriction, which themselves are well recognized independent risk factors for adverse short-term and long-term neurodevelopment. Furthermore, the additive effects of prenatal environmental and social factors on infant neurodevelopment remain poorly understood. Hence, we propose a Triple-Hit Hypothesis to explain the potential pathway from placental malaria to poor infant neurodevelopmental outcomes.

As per our hypothesis, prenatal socioeconomic, environmental and maternal factors represent the first-hit that influences the risk of developing placental malaria. Poverty and low socioeconomic status are known to increase the likelihood of malaria infection, as well as negatively influence access to and uptake of malaria treatment and prevention tools. The use of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine in resistant areas has been seen to increase placental inflammation and parasitisation, as well as the proportion of resistant parasites, which can lead to more severe placental infection. Lastly, maternal factors, including parity and age, are known to influence the likelihood of placental malaria; the risk of placental malaria among primigravidae is 2-4 times higher than multigravidae, and is seen to increase with decreasing age

The second-hit is represented by the direct activation of maternal immuno-inflammatory factors in response to placental malaria and resultant placental dysfunction. The infiltration of maternal immune and inflammatory factors and placental histopathological changes, such as thickening of the trophoblastic basement membrane, can cause mechanical blockage of materno-foetal oxygen and nutrient exchange, leading to hypoxic conditions and oxidative stress as well as impaired placental vascularisation. Evidence from the literature also suggests activation of complement and a TH1/TH2 imbalance, further contributing to the maternal immunological response.

The severity of placental infection represents the third-hit, wherein the risk of poor neurodevelopment is indirectly impacted by the increased likelihood of adverse birth outcomes associated with infection. Low birthweight, preterm birth and intrauterine growth restriction are themselves risk factors for adverse foetal brain development, and adversities include long-term volumetric brain reductions and cognitive, motor and behavioural deficits. Furthermore, research has shown a direct link between maternal inflammation, placental pathology and poor neurological and neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Taken together, this involvement of both direct and indirect pathways culminate in a unique foetal phenotype, where not only do we expect to see the adverse birth outcomes commonly associated with placental malaria, but also adversities including increased risks of neurological, cognitive and behavioural deficits that may impact the quality of life in this high-risk population. Validation of the link between placental malaria and adverse neurodevelopment is needed.

For feedback and any further information, please contact: harriet.lawford@mater.uq.edu.au.

Progress on Malaria in Pregnancy in 12 PMI Focus Countries

The challenges of implementing programs to control malaria in pregnancy based on experiences with US President’s Malaria Initiative Countries was presented at the Malaria World Congress in Melbourne this week. The team included Katherine Wolf, MCSP/Jhpiego, Marianne Henry, PMI/USAID, Lia Florey, PMI/USAID, Gabrielle Conecker, MCSP/Jhpiego, Betsy Hendrickson, MCSP/Jhpiego, Katherine Lilly, MCSP/Jhpiego, Nicholas
Furtado, GFATM, Maria Petro, GFATM, Susan Youll, PMI/USAID, and Julie Gutman, PMI/CDC, and their findings are shared below.

What is the danger of malaria in pregnancy (MiP)? Each year MIP is responsible for 20% of stillbirths in Sub-Saharan Africa, 100,000 Newborn deaths globally, 11% of newborn deaths in Africa and 10,000 maternal deaths globally. Four interventions are aimed at MIP, Intermittent Preventive Treatment in Pregnancy (IPTp), consistent use of insecticide treated nets, effective diagnosis and treatment and low-dose folic acid during antenatal care. IPTp with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine reduces low birth weight by 29%, severe maternal anemia by 38% and neonatal mortality by 31%. What can be done?

  • Scale-up and full coverage of the WHO lifesaving interventions
  • Promote early and regular ANC
  • Preserve SP efficacy by avoiding its use for treating clinical cases of malaria
  • Reserve SP stocks for IPTp at ANC clinics

Methodology for MiP country review: Initial survey took place in 23 PMI countries. PMI resident advisors were surveyed, Qualitative and quantitative responses were collected and Input from NMCP/partners was obtained. Country selection resulted in 12 that were Tiptop-implementing countries, represented Geographic diversity, had varied IPTp coverage, and made clear progress or best practices to share.

Desk review including HMIS and house hold survey data, current studies and recent assessments, Selected interviews with PMI resident advisors, Jhpiego field staff and current/former NMCP staff. Analysis was a Review and clarification of qualitative and qualitative data.

The 12 countries included Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, DRC, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, and Zimbabwe (see map). The figure shows that none of these attained 80% of 2 doses of IPTp. The current recommendations are for monthly dosages from the 13th week of pregnancy. Often less that half of those receiving IPTp2 also got IPTp3.

Several health systems findings helped explain the IPT results. For Policy & Implementation, Countries reporting strong, coordinated leadership delivered
high IPTp coverage. With Community Engagement, countries reported a diversity of approaches to community health promotion and service delivery.

Concerning Service Delivery, Many countries struggle to implement MiP policies consistently and with quality in the private sector. Commodities were a challenge. Some countries continue to struggle with SP stockouts at facility level, whether ongoing or episodic. Monitoring and Evaluation processes need to catch up. Countries’ routine information systems are transitioning from tracking IPTp2 to IPTp3.
The team offered several Recommendations.

  1. Strengthen consistency of IPTp policies across malaria and reproductive health programs
  2. Scale up of evidence-based country appropriate
    community engagement strategies
  3. Alleviation of supply chain bottlenecks at peripheral level
  4. Inclusion and harmonization of key MIP indicators in routine information systems

For more information please visit www.mcsprogram.org, facebook.com/MCSPglobal and twitter.com/MCSPglobal

This presentation was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under the terms of the Cooperative AgreementAID-OAA-A-14-00028. The contents are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

Intermittent Preventive Treatment of Malaria In Pregnancy in Tanzania

Intermittent Preventive Treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) using sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) has been a long standing intervention to protect pregnant women and their unborn children from the dangerous effects of malaria in stable transmission settings. Placental malaria deprives the fetus of nutrients leading to low birth weight, still birth and miscarriages. The mother herself suffers anemia and potentially, death.

There had always been a challenge to getting pregnant women to obtain at least two doses of IPTp-SP due to a variety of factors ranging from health system lapses to late antenatal care attendance by mothers. This phenomenon of dropping out of multi-contact interventions is not uncommon and seen equally in programs such as childhood immunization. Therefore when the World Health Organization raised the bar and recommended IPTp starting in the 13th week of pregnancy and monthly thereafter, the challenge of providing three or more doses arose.

The Malaria Indicator Surveys (MIS) and the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) are an ideal was to trace the progress of malaria intervention over multiple years. With the release of the preliminary results of 2017 Tanzania MIS it is now possible to track this service from over a decade. The Attached chart, using MIS/DHS reports shows that so far Tanzania has not come near achieving 80% coverage of this indicator. While there had been major increases over recent years, reports of IPTp coverage in 2017 show only 56% of recently pregnant women received at least two doses, and only 26% received three or more.

It should be noted that countries are beginning to stratify their interventions according  to available transmission data. Therefore as noted in the US President’s Malaria Initiative Malaria Operations Plan for 2018, Zanzibar where transmission is low, has stopped IPTp and focuses on prompt and appropriate case management, while the mainland of Tanzania continues with all MIP interventions.  Of interest is the most recent child prevalence map found in the 2017 MIS results that shows other parts of the mainland may also be approaching very low transmission.

Moving forward it will be useful if Tanzania and other endemic countries not only gather epidemiological data to help stratify appropriate interventions (as suggested in the WHO malaria elimination framework), but go further to focus reporting by strata. That said, the health system and community difficulties in achieving high IPTp coverage wherever it is appropriate will remain a challenge if services remain based in static health facilities. Community roles must be explored.