2. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Hospital Ibadan, Nigeria.
3. Department of Obstetrics and Gnaecology, College of Medicine and Health sciences, Bingham University, Jos campus, Jos, Nigeria.
4. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Federal Medical Centre Makurdi, Nigeria.
5. Department of computer science, Rehobort Immaculate conception Abuja, Nigeria.
Background: Malaria has been a major public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria parasitaemia among pregnant women is associated with adverse maternal and fetal complications. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of malaria parasitaemia among asymptomatic women at booking and to ascertain their packed cell volume (PCV) at Garki Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria.
Materials and methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study of 659 pregnant women recruited consecutively at the time of booking for antenatal care. Thick film microscopy and thin film for malaria parasites were performed for all the women. PCV assessment was done using the micro centrifuge method and comparison was made between women with and without parasitaemia. Descriptive statistics was also done.
Results: A total of 700 were initially counseled but only 659 gave consent and participated in the study, given a rate of 94%. The gestational age at first booking ranged between 8-37 weeks. Prevalence of malaria parasitaemia was 38.8%. Majority of the women had mild parasitaemia and there was statistical significant difference between mild, moderate and severe parasitaemia. About 53.8% of primigravidae and 18.7% multigravidae were anaemic at booking. The Probability of a woman aged<30 years having malaria parasitaemia is four times (81.3%) more than those aged>31 years (18.8%). Those with tertiary education constituted the largest group in the Study (67.2%) and there was association between low parasitaemia and higher level of education.
Conclusion: Asymptomatic women with malaria parasitaemia and anaemia are common at booking visit. Public enlightenment on malaria prevention and female education may greatly reduce high level of malaria parasitaemia and anaemia among this obstetric population. We recommend screening policy for malaria parasitaemia at booking.
Keywords: Malaria parasitaemia, anaemia, asymptomatic women, packed cell volume (PCV)