From: Ali Abare, Gombe
Director Public Health at the Gombe State Ministry of Health, Dr. Joshuah Abubakar, has said that malaria infection during pregnancy was a significant public health problem with substantial risks for the pregnant woman, her fetus and newborn child.
Dr. Abubakar disclosed this while speaking during the media round table discussion organised by MamaYe E4A in Gombe to commemorate the World Malaria Day.
According to him, 11 percent of maternal deaths in Gombe is caused by malaria, adding that in 2014 more than 80 percent households received treated mosquito nets in Gombe but the utilization was poor.
Dr. Abubakar said in Nigeria recent studies show that 60 percent of General Out Patient (GOP) was due to malaria, 30 percent of hospital admission was due to malaria, 30 percent of under-five deaths was also due to malaria as well as 25 percent of infant deaths.
Also speaking, Dr. Alfred Masa, Consultant Obstetric at the Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe, stressed the need for pregnant women to take their Sulfadoxine Pyrimethamine (SP) in the presence of caregivers in the hospital, following the observations that pregnant women do not normally take it.
He said that the drugs are recommended at 16 weeks of pregnancy or when the woman starts feeling the baby kick, adding that pregnant women should always use treated mosquito nets to be protected from malaria infection.
“If malaria is prevented in pregnant women, you prevent 30 percent anemia, 30 percent maternal deaths and 25 percent neonatal deaths,” he said.
Narrating their ordeals, two pregnant women described their experience as terrible.
Mrs. Magdalene Alex said she was diagnosed with malaria because she ignored the SP drugs, which were given to her in the hospital, and the experience was terrible.
For Mrs. Samira Sabo, she explained that though she was given the drugs but she did not take it until she started experiencing abnormality.