Madam Beatrice Akefo, a Principal Midwifery Officer (PMO) at the Representative and Child Health Unit (RCH) of the Upper East Regional Hospital in Bolgatanga has called on expectant mothers to avoid contracting malaria.
She stressed that “Malaria is one of the killer diseases,” and urged pregnant women not to relent on the use of the Intermittent Preventive Treatment of malaria in pregnancy with Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP).
Madam Akefo, who spoke in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Bolgatanga on the need for pregnant women to take Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine (SP) and sleep under insecticide treated mosquito nets, indicated that the SP decreased placental parasitaemia and improved birth outcomes.
She insisted that “If pregnant women continue to take the SP, sleep under insecticide treated nets and feed very well, they will be protected from contracting malaria.
“It is also good for them to report early to the facility if they suspect they have malaria, so that we can test and refer for early treatment and prevention of complications,” the PMO said.
When the GNA visited the RCH unit on its Antenatal (ANC) and postnatal day, the usually busy Unit had three clients some of whom were visiting the facility for the first, and were waiting to be attended to by Madam Akefo and her team of health professionals at the Unit.
The PMO explained that the COVID-19 pandemic had greatly affected ANC attendance at the hitherto filled to capacity Unit.
She said the use of the SP among the expectant mothers was encouraging, “Some even alert us to administer the SP, while others do not want it at all. But the SP will prevent them from getting malaria, even if they get it, it will not be so severe.”
She said malaria in pregnancy could affect the unborn baby if there were complications, “The baby could either be aborted or delivered preterm, or the baby may be delivered at term but also have malaria. So we explain to them the need for the SP.”
Some pregnant women told the GNA on condition of anonymity that they felt uncomfortable anytime they took the SP.
“As for that SP, I feel very uncomfortable the whole day when I take it, sometimes I even vomit after taking it. With the mosquito net, the weather is hot this time, so I don’t use it, but try to keep my room free from mosquitoes,” an expectant mother told the GNA.
“I don’t like to eat in the morning, and so I find it difficult taking the drug when they give me. I am sometimes compelled to get some snacks around and eat before taking it,” another pregnant woman said.