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Weekly chloroquine prophylaxis and the effect on maternal haemoglobin status at delivery

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Our aim was to determine the effectiveness of chloroquine prophylaxis in reducing the frequency of malaria-induced anaemia at delivery. We estimated the haemoglobin levels of 207 parturients; 82 (39.6%) had been on chloroquine prophylaxis [treatment group (TG)] while 125 (60.4%) did not take any malaria preventive medication antenatally [control group (CG)]. The proportion of women with malaria parasitaemia was significantly higher in CG than TG [risk ratio (RR=1.57, CI=1.05–2.34)]. The dose–response relationship between the severity of parasitaemia and the risk of being anaemic (P < 0.001) confirms a strong correlation between gestational malaria and maternal anaemia. There was a 35% reduction in risk for anaemia in the TG compared with the CG (RR=0.65, 0.40–1.06). The difference in risk was more pronounced after adjusting for disparity in place of residence, educational status and obstetric history (adjusted RR=0.54, CI=0.21–0.98). Primiparous mothers appeared to have benefited more from the antianaemic effects of malaria chemoprevention than mothers of higher parity (protective effectiveness 43% compared with 33%, respectively). In conclusion, despite reports of widespread Plasmodium falciparum resistance to chloroquine on the African continent, malaria chemosuppression with the drug was found beneficial in reducing the risk of anaemia at delivery among Cameroonian women.
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Keywords: anaemia; chloroquine prophylaxis; malaria

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ebolowa Regional Hospital, Cameroon, 2: Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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