Community-based Screening and Treatment of Malaria in Pregnancy: a Cluster-randomized Trial

2015-04-17 12:08:23 | BioPortfolio


Malaria is a common disease in Africa and a major health problem. Pregnant women are also at risk of malaria. Malaria in pregnancy is life threatening to both the mother and the baby she is carrying. It can result in the destruction of the mother's blood and in babies with a lower birth weight than normal, making them less healthy in their first years of life. These risks are even higher in women having their first pregnancy.

When a woman is pregnant she should go to the Antenatal clinic (ANC) for care. Usually the ANC health staff gives the woman intermittent preventable treatment (IPTp-SP) against malaria. This drug helps protect the woman against getting malaria. Each pregnant woman should receive at least 2 doses of this drug during their pregnancy; thus, they should go the ANC at least 2 times during their pregnancy. However, many women still do not go often to the ANC for health care during their pregnancy.

This study would like to see whether community health workers (CHW) can work with pregnant women to encourage them to attend ANC more often. Also, the CHW will test a pregnant woman every month for malaria with a rapid test. If a woman has malaria, the CHW will treat her in her home instead of the woman having to go a health clinic for treatment. The woman will be treated with a different drug than the drug that is given at the ANC visits. Our hypothesis is that this will improve the care and management of malaria during pregnancy and this will improve the health of women and their newborns. To see whether this strategy improved the health of women and their newborns, we will take a small piece of the placenta at delivery to test for malaria and we will weigh the baby. We will test this strategy in multiple communities. We will compare this to pregnant women in communities where this strategy was not followed, thus where pregnant women received standard care.

Participants will be pregnant women. There are no direct benefits for participating in the study, except the outcome of our research question that is possible health benefits in the intervention group. The drugs involved are tested safe in pregnant women from second trimester on.


Community health workers (CHWs) that will be working in intervention villages will be trained on community-based case management of malaria by monthly testing of pregnant women using a rapid diagnostic test (RDT). They will also be taught the benefit of pregnant women visiting the antenatal clinics (ANC) and that women should receive intermittent preventive treatment with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) at the ANC according to WHO guidelines.

The CHWs will try to identify all pregnant women in their villages and encourage them to visit the ANC as early as possible in their pregnancy. The CHW will check after one week if the ANC was visited. For women who do not attend the ANC, the CHW will further encourage and discuss reasons for non-attendance. Subsequently the CHW will visit the woman's house every month to test for malaria with a RDT.The CHW will give a full course of AL to any woman with a positive RDT. The CHW will also collect a blood slide and a blood spot on filter paper for later analysis in the laboratory. The CHWs will return to women who were treated for malaria to check uptake and compliance by using a short questionnaire and checking the empty packaging of the treatment at the end of the course.

In control communities, CHW will not be trained to do RDTs and give AL to pregnant women. The only data collection will occur during ANC visits.

All women are asked to deliver in collaborating health centres. Peripheral blood will be tested for hemoglobin, malaria infection and resistance against SP. A placenta biopsy will be collected and all babies will be weighed and examined.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Investigator, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Prevention


Malaria, Antepartum


community based screening and treatment


Centre de Recherches Entomologiques de Cotonou (CREC)




Royal Tropical Institute

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2015-04-17T12:08:23-0400

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