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IPTp Malaria Project: Evaluating the New strategy

The Intermittent Preventive Treatment of Malaria in Pregnancy(IPTp): Evaluating the new strategy in Ghana" is a study, which was conducted from 2015 to 2016. This initiative  was carried out by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and the School of Public Health (SPH) both of the University of Ghana (UG), the French Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) and the Maamobi General Hospital; with the support of the French Embassy (Initiative five per cent Programme) .

The first phase of the study (€268,000) concentrated on urban populations and involved a sample of 2,000 women of which Ghana was one of the first countries to carry out the first phase experiments on a sample of 2000 women on the pilot sites of Maamobi and Kpone and the Kpone Katamanso District hospitals. Ghana is also one of many countries benefitting from the “five per cent initiative” that was launched by France at the end of 2011, as an indirect contribution to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The objective of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the mechanism for preventing placental malaria in line with recommendations made by the World Health Organization (WHO) on preventive chemotherapy against malaria during pregnancy. Malaria during pregnancy is a common cause of maternal anaemia, abortions and intrauterine growth retardation.

H. E. Francois Pujolas, France Ambassador to Ghana  said the research project on the treatment of malaria in pregnancy is of  greatest importance", stating that the project had enabled the establishment of a collaborative network among the IRD, the researchers at the NMIMR, the SPH, health professionals and the policy makers in Ghana.

He added that the project, which was conducted on a sample of 2000 women on the pilot sites of Maamobi and Kpone Katamanso District Hospitals; was of the greatest importance as Malaria continues to represent one of the greatest public health challenges in Ghana, and was recognised as a serious obstacle to economic development.

Mr Francois however  indicated that data generated in the study would also serve as the baseline for future evaluation of the promising vaccine developed by IRD and its partners of Universities of Copenhagen in Denmark and Tübingen in Germany to better control placental malaria.

Professor Isabella Quakyi,  SPH, UG, impelled pregnant women to take advice given them during antenatal care very seriously to limit the probability of getting infected with malaria. She emphasized the need for pregnant women to take malaria education seriously as efforts were being made to protect pregnant women from malaria, since it created adverse conditions both for the child and the expecting mother. She mentioned that the effects of malaria on pregnant women include anaemia, fluid and electrolyte imbalance, circulatory collapse, hepatic failure, abortion among others. She noted that malaria was more common in pregnancy compared to the general population.

(from left: Hon. Ishmael Ashitey, Greater Accra Regional Minister, H. E. Francois Pujolas, Professor Isabella Quakyi and Professor Abraham  Anang)

Speaking at the dissemination meeting, Professor Abraham Kwabena Anang, Director of NMIMR pointed out that developing global partnership that will break barriers is key and that he was excited about the fomidable team that has been built through the IPTp project. He lauded the French Embassy and IRD for strongly supporting the project. Professor Anang promised that NMIMR will work hard to furthur stregthen the team work since working as a team has helped tackle important health challenges in the country. He reiterated that the IPTp project has helped to offset dangerous effects of pregnancy related diseases.

Dr Salamatu Attah Nantogman, Acting Medical Superintendent of the Maamobi General Hospital, said evidence-based medicine had become the hall mark of clinical practice and was of the belief that Maamobi had a good mix of clients to carry out many more research projects. She stated that the impact of the collaboration had not only been in getting results, but also there was an increased number of staff trained in sample taking, and enhanced skill of their laboratory staff in blood film preparation and phlebotomy.

Dr Nantogman, who said their doors were opened to further collaborations in research, again pointed out that the intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) intake had improved and their antenatal care services had achieved a one stop shop status by virtue of a laboratory housed in the maternity unit.

 

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The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), set up in 1979 as a semi autonomous institute of the University, is the leading biomedical research facility in Ghana.

© 2017 NMIMR

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