Malaria infection alone during pregnancy is already a major public health concern, as it increases the risk of low birth weight (LBW) (less than 2.5kg or 5.5 lbs) in newly born babies (Coulibaly, Gies, and D’Alessandro 2007, 56), which consequently causes increased infant…
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(UNICEF and WHO 2004, 2-3). Given these harmful effects of LBW to children’s survival LBW then puts humanity and society’s future in peril. This danger doubles with the interaction of malaria and HIV, as researches (Steketee et al. 1996, Parise et al. 1998, Verhoeff et al. 1999, and van Eijk 2001) indicate that “pregnant women infected with HIV demonstrate more frequent and higher density parasitemia than pregnant women not infected with HIV” (cited in Ayisi et al. 2004, 643). Both diseases are found prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa (Global HIV/AIDS epidemic update 2001) thus, the deadly co-infection of HIV and malaria in pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa is common in many of its areas.
The effect of the interaction of malaria and HIV specifically in pregnant women is most visible in malaria-endemic areas and in areas with generalized HIV. Since sub-Saharan Africa suffers a high burden of both diseases, co-infection is common in its many areas – among its countries most severely affected are Central African Republic, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is estimated that at least there are about 440, 000 women in sub-Saharan Africa infected with malaria during pregnancy due to HIV, as HIV infection weakens pregnant women’s immunity to P. falciparum infection (WHO 2004, 5-6; Ayisi et. Al. 2004, 643) – the most deadly among the four main parasites causing human malaria; the most common malaria parasite in sub-Saharan Africa, to which the extremely high malaria-related mortality in this region is attributed (Greenwood 1999, 617); and more common in pregnant than non-pregnant women that causes both prematurity gestation of less than 37 weeks and intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) (Guyatt and Snow 2004, 760).
Studies (Ayisi et al. 2003, cited in Gender and Health 2007; Ayisi et al. 2004; ter Kuile et al. 2004)
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