PMTCT, malaria in pregnancy share common problem

dscn3784a.JPGPartners “too often fail to coordinate programs to help promote more integrated, comprehensive health care for women,” and governments are “often unable or unwilling to initiate or sustain health care programs and reforms that would improve women’s access to services.” according to a new report from the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition.

If we did not know the source of this information we could assume it applies equally well to controlling malaria in pregnancy as it does to preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.  Both services are supposed to be part of integrated focused antenatal care (ANC).  Neither appear as regularly as needed to save the lives of mothers and newborns. This is not because women in developing countries fail to attend ANC.

Nearly 95 percent of pregnant women (in Uganda) attend antenatal care (ANC) services at least once during their pregnancy. They do not necessarily have access to comprehensive prevention of vertical transmission services, however, because just 43 percent of all health facilities that provide ANC and delivery services have integrated prevention of vertical. transmission.

Omo-Aghoja and colleagues point out that, “Part of the reasons for the low uptake of measures for malaria prevention in pregnant women in many African countries is the lack of proper integration of the recommended interventions into antenatal care (ANC) offered in health institutions.”

In a recent New York Times article on maternal mortality Dr. Massawe, a Tanzanian clinician asks, ““Why don’t we have a global fund for maternal health, like the one for TB, malaria and AIDS?”  Until the question of why women, including pregnant women, are not offered comprehensive and integrated services is answered, inequity and death of mothers and children will continue to be an unacceptable reality.

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