Posts or Comments 27 February 2024

Archive for "Maternal Health"

Antenatal Care (ANC) &IPTp &Malaria in Pregnancy &Maternal Health Bill Brieger | 19 Oct 2023

Progress and Challenges for Intermittent Preventive Treatment of Malaria in Pregnancy: Nigeria

Bill Brieger and Bright Orji conducted an examination of national surveys and program reviews to document achievement of antenatal care and IPTp targets in Nigerian preparation for a poster presentation at the 2023 American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene annual meeting in Chicago.

In 2012, the World Health Organization updated the Intermittent Preventive Treatment of malaria during pregnancy (IPTp) coverage indicator to a minimum of three doses. In 2014, Nigeria set the national target of 100% of women attending ANC to receive IPTp.

This study reviewed national survey data for antenatal care (ANC) attendance and IPTp provision from the 2013 and 2018 Demographic Health Surveys (DHS) and the 2015 and 2021 Malaria Indicator Surveys (MIS). Extracted from the national malaria program reviews (MPR) of the National Malaria Strategic Plans (NMSP) of 2014 and 2019 were explanations of program implementation issues. ANC4 attendance and IPTp uptake (1st and 3rd doses) were compared using descriptive statistics.

The 2015 MIS did not document ANC 4th visit, so attendance in the remaining surveys was 51%, 57%, and 52% (X2=160.0, df2, p <0.0001). The slow increase of ANC attendance and drop in 2021 meant that opportunity to acquire three IPTp doses was not possible for most women. Over the four surveys, IPT1 increased from 23% to 47% to 64%, then dropped to 58%. IPTp3 rose from 6% to 19% then dropped to 16.6% before increasing to 31% (X2= 1755, df3, p<0.0001).

The MPR reports identified four factors inhibiting achievement of the ANC and IPTp targets including insecurity (terrorism, civil unrest), poor integration of malaria in pregnancy into reproductive and maternal health programs, inadequate procurement and stock-outs of SP, and logistical hurdles (lack of vehicles and fuel). By not meeting ANC4 and IPTp1 targets, limits were set for IPTp3 uptake.

As other researchers have suggested, NMSPs embody global targets and may not reflect local realities. Local governments, who deliver the bulk of ANC and IPTp services, must be part of the process of setting and planning how to achieve targets.

CHW &Integration &IPTi &IPTp &Malaria in Pregnancy &Maternal Health &Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention Bill Brieger | 12 Dec 2022

Malaria Chemoprevention in 2021 as Seen in The World Malaria Report of 2022

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, reminds us in this year’s edition of the World Malaria Report (WMR 2022) that, “Although hard hit, most countries held the line and were able to maintain services to prevent, detect and treat malaria – a remarkable feat in the midst of a pandemic. Nonetheless, more than 600 000 people still die of malaria every year – most of them children. Even with the heroic efforts to maintain services during the pandemic, malaria control efforts face many hurdles in addition to the already significant COVID-related disruptions and other health system challenges.”

Even though there was an increase in cases between 2020 and 2021, there are now more strategies in the malaria control and elimination toolkit than ever before. One in particular is an updated take on an old concept of chemoprophylaxis, which fell out of use due to mounting drug resistance. Years of research with pregnant women and young children led to the development over time of using regularly scheduled treatment doses of malaria medicines as chemoprevention. Intermittent Preventive Treatment for pregnant women (IPTp) and Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention for young children, both targeted to appropriate epidemiological settings, are now common. Countries are also exploring IPT for children in other settings.

We were, therefore, curious what the current WMR shares on chemoprevention initiatives. Specifically, the WMR summarized WHO recommendations as follows: “Updated guidelines provide recommendations on intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp), perennial malaria chemoprevention (PMC) and seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC), intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in school-aged children (IPTsc), post-discharge malaria chemoprevention (PDMC), mass drug administration (MDA) and elimination.”

In summary, WMR 2022 notes that, “The average number of children treated per cycle of SMC increased from about 0.2 million in 2012 to almost 45 million in 2021,” and “Using data from 33 countries in the WHO African Region, the percentage of IPTp use by dose was computed. In 2021, 72% of pregnant women used ANC services at least once during their pregnancy. About 55% of pregnant women received one dose of IPTp, 45% received two doses and 35% received three doses.” This is not just progress over time, but also represents an expansion targets and work required for success. For pregnant women the increase represented a change in target from only two doses during pregnancy to a minimum of three. Starting with pilot efforts, SMC now covers children in 15 countries.

The targeted three doses for IPTp shows that two thirds of women who register for antenatal (prenatal) care (ANC), fail to achieve full coverage. Stronger collaboration is needed between malaria control and maternal health programs to ensure that pregnant women actually attend ANC and do so early and often enough to receive 3 monthly doses minimum in their second and third trimesters. More emphasis is needed on community IPTp distribution, since we know that community health workers have been crucial in achieving SMC as well as integrated community case management efforts.

Similar challenges exist for SMC as research looks into whether additional doses are needed based on mosquito breeding and malaria transmission season factors in endemic countries. Adding extra months to the program will tax resources, but also save lives.

Both maternal and child efforts at chemoprevention will need to address research that first shows increasing resistance to the common medicines used, and the potential for introducing new drug combinations in light of that resistance. Challenges here reflect another aspect of SMC, the need for CHWs to guarantee that on any given distribution round, three doses on medicine are required. Recent reports show that within any given round, community adherence to SMC has been good. We need to apply those lessons to IPTp when the regimen changes.

Ultimately, chemoprevention has proven to be an important life saving tool. The challenges of multiple contacts and doses that lead to success rely not only on having effective medicines, but also on culturally appropriate behavior change strategies and well-funded efforts to strengthen the health systems that deliver preventive treatments.



IPTp &Malaria in Pregnancy &Maternal Health &Reproductive Health Bill Brieger | 28 Jun 2018

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.

Maternal Health &Neonatal &Vaccine Bill Brieger | 07 Dec 2017

Challenges in achieving Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination: South Sudan Experience

Dr. Anthony Laku who is currently the Immunization Program Officer in the South Sudan Ministry of Health presented the status of efforts to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) in South Sudan at the fourth meeting of the WHO Regional Immunization Technical Advisory Group held 5-7 December 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. A summary of key challenges is shared below.

General Challenges to health delivery in South Sudan include a Maternal Mortality Ratio of 2054 per 100,000 live births. Also ~56% of population are not reached by Health Facilities; 60% of roads not accessible for half of the year; 45% of people live without access to safe water; and 86% of women have no formal education.

Delivery of immunization is hampered by persistent insecurity and inaccessibility. As of 31st August 2017, 7.5 million people are affected, and 3.9 million people are displaced, of which 2 million are in neighboring countries. The health services have varying degrees of difficulty in reaching the displaced people with immunization services.

Key strategies to eliminate MNT are as follows:

  • Three doses to all Women of Reproductive Age (WRA) using supplementary immunization activities (SIAs)
  • Provision of at least two doses of tetanus containing vaccines (TT) to all pregnant women and in high-risk areas
  • Promotion of clean delivery services for all pregnant women, and
  • Effective surveillance for MNT

So far the results have been below the targets for elimination. For example, 61% of 80 counties had less than 80% coverage in the third Round of Tetanus Containing Vaccines SIAs with 27/80 counties not reached at all. There was low estimated routine immunization (Penta3) coverage of only 26% in 2016. A limited number of skilled staff were available to ensure clean cord delivery (5% skilled delivery) with challenging implication on MNT elimination validation.

The protracted civil crisis in the country creates an uphill task for reaching key global targets including MNT elimination. Weak economic status in the country has had a ripple effect on staff motivation and commitment (e.g. delayed salaries).

Additional strategies were adopted for coverage improvement in 2017. A “Hit and Run” strategy was developed for insecure areas. Periodic Intensification of Routine Immunization was used in areas of intermittent crisis and or with high buildup of unimmunized populations. Overall the MNT elimination strategic plan was updated for 2018–2022.

Funding gaps exist for this new strategic plan with only 21% of needed finance is pledged. One approach to funding is aligning MNT elimination with funding in related areas such as the RMNCAH and Nutrition strategy and the Human Resource for Health Strategy. Despite these challenges South Sudan is persisting in efforts to eliminate MNT.