Each year, about 125 million pregnant women are at risk of contracting malaria in pregnancy, with approximately 25% of all pregnancies in sub-Saharan Africa complicated by maternal malaria infection at delivery. Pregnancy-associated malaria has profound maternal and fetal health consequences, including increased risk of anemia, preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, delivery of low birth weight infants and impaired neurocognitive development – a consequence which is now increasingly being recognized.
This new project involves a novel antenatal care policy that focuses resources on accurate point-of-care malaria diagnosis and effective case- management of infection to reduce the burden of malaria in pregnancy and protect early brain development. This approach is called scheduled intermittent screening and treatment (ISTp).
The project team will:
- Compare ISTp to current practice in terms of prevention of adverse birth outcomes and of placental malaria at birth.
- Evaluate the link between neurocognitive injury and pregnancy-associated malaria.
- Understand whether intermittent screening and treatment better protects early brain development and ameliorates the risk of malaria infection in early childhood is…
- Evaluate whether this intervention confers a neurocognitive developmental advantage in early childhood.