Malaria incidence and prevalence has been dropping quickly in Rwanda, below 2% in children under 5 years old. Malaria in Pregnancy (MIP) is still a risk some and may be more severe as the disease becomes rare and immunity reduces. The US Presidentâ€™s Malaria Initiative is supporting a prevalence study of MIP through its Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) and the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) so that appropriate data will become available to design appropriate MIP interventions as the country moves towards malaria elimination.
The study focuses on pregnant women during their first visit to focused antenatal care (FANC) for their current pregnancy. Four FANC visits promote maternal and newborn health through 1) Early detection and treatment, 2) Prevention of complications and disease, 3) Birth preparedness and 4) Health promotion.
The study of over 4000 women is at the half way mark. Supervisory visits determine if data such as RDT, Microscopy and PCR tests, are being gathered correctly.
Pictured here are Alice and Donatien who are nurses based at Gakoma Health center in Gisagara District and were trained for the the MIP prevalence study. They are seen here taking blood samples for the study. They have integrated the study procedures into the routine FANC they provide. This makes it easier for the client as well as the nurses who also extract study data on age, parity, hemoglobin, bednet ownership and fever history which is normally collected as part of FANC.
Since data collection began in late December, Alice and Donatien have enrolled about half of their target number of clients.Â When the results from all 38 health centers across the country are compiled in April, the National Malaria Control Program will have valuable information to plan how best to protect pregnant women as the country moves closer to malaria elimination.