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Malaria Journal

, 6:160

First Online: 04 December 2007Received: 11 October 2007Accepted: 04 December 2007


Malaria in pregnancy is one of the major causes of maternal morbidity and adverse birth outcomes. In high transmission areas, its prevention has recently changed, moving from a weekly or bimonthly chemoprophylaxis to intermittent preventive treatment IPTp. IPTp consists in the administration of a single curative dose of an efficacious anti-malarial drug at least twice during pregnancy – regardless of whether the woman is infected or not. The drug is administered under supervision during antenatal care visits. Sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine SP is the drug currently recommended by the WHO. While SP-IPTp seems an adequate strategy, there are many issues still to be explored to optimize it. This paper reviewed data on IPTp efficacy and discussed how to improve it. In particular, the determination of both the optimal number of doses and time of administration of the drug is essential, and this has not yet been done. As both foetal growth and deleterious effects of malaria are maximum in late pregnancy women should particularly be protected during this period. Monitoring of IPTp efficacy should be applied to all women, and not only to primi- and secondigravidae, as it has not been definitively established that multigravidae are not at risk for malaria morbidity and mortality. In HIV-positive women, there is an urgent need for specific information on drug administration patterns need for higher doses, possible interference with sulpha-based prophylaxis of opportunistic infections. Because of the growing level of resistance of parasites to SP, alternative drugs for IPTp are urgently needed. Mefloquine is presently one of the most attractive options because of its long half life, high efficacy in sub-Saharan Africa and safety during pregnancy. Also, efforts should be made to increase IPTp coverage by improving the practices of health care workers, the motivation of women and their perception of malaria complications in pregnancy. Because IPTp is not applicable in early pregnancy, which is a period when malaria may also be deleterious for women and their offspring, there is a necessity to integrate this strategy with other preventive measures which can be applied earlier in pregnancy such as insecticide-treated nets.

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Autor: Valérie Briand - Gilles Cottrell - Achille Massougbodji - Michel Cot


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