Malaria in pregnancy represents a substantial risk for mothers and their babies, causing an estimated 10,000 maternal deaths globally every year. Hence, the need for establishing and updating interventions for controlling malaria and its effects on pregnancy. Researchers from Maternal, Child and Reproductive Health at ISGlobal have recently participated in two separate initiatives, both aimed at guiding evidence-based actions and policies for the prevention of malaria in pregnancy.
Reviewing evidence on malaria in pregnancy outside Africa. From July 12-14, Clara Menéndez, director of the Maternal, Child and Reproductive Health Initiative and Azucena Bardaji, assistant research professor, participated in a WHO Evidence Review Group on Malaria in Pregnancy meeting (MiP-ERG), with Raquel González, assistant research professor, as rapporteur. The goal of the meeting was to generate generic prevention guidelines for malaria in pregnancy for regions outside Africa. Indeed, the number of pregnancies in endemic areas of Asia and Latin America is high but there is limited information on the burden, treatment and prevention of malaria in pregnancy in these regions. During three days, the 25 participants reviewed evidence on the burden and impact of P. vivax malaria in pregnant women, the efficacy and safety of drugs to treat or prevent falciparum and vivax malaria during pregnancy, the impact of treatment against sexually transmitted infections, and challenges in pregnant HIV-infected women. The conclusions of the group will be presented during the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC) meeting in October.
Generating general guidelines on antenatal care and malaria. In addition, ISGlobal also participated, as member of the Malaria in Pregnancy Working Group of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, in producing general recommendations for malaria in pregnancy, in the context of the new antenatal care guidelines published in 2016 by the WHO. These technical briefs available in English, French and Portuguese, recommend how to build on the new WHO antenatal care model in order to deliver comprehensive interventions for malaria prevention and treatment for pregnant women.