MALARIA AND HELMINTH CO-INFECTION IN PREGNANCY, AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO ANAEMIA AT BOOKING IN THE UNIVERSITY OF PORT HARCOURT TEACHING HOSPITAL
Malaria and helminth infections are endemic in sub Saharan Africa and contribute significantly to anaemia and other morbidities during pregnancy such as intrauterine growth restriction and low birth weight. The co-infection of malaria and helminth in pregnancy has more negative impact on the prevalence of anaemia in pregnancy. While proactive measures are taken to prevent malaria and its sequelae during pregnancy at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, there are no such measures for helminth infection even though it is equally endemic and have adverse sequelae like anaemia. The diagnosis of helminth infection unlike malaria in pregnancy is rarely made at University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital.
The main objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of malaria and helminth co-infection in pregnancy and its effect on anaemia in pregnancy at booking, in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital.
This cross sectional descriptive study was conducted among 192 pregnant women booking for ante-natal care at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital from August 2015 to March 2016. All pregnant women booking for ante-natal care who met the eligibility criteria were enrolled for the study. Informed consent was obtained from all pregnant women that took part in the study. Socio-demographic data was collected through a structured questionnaire. These data included age, level of education, occupation, marital status, area of residence, religion and parity. Blood samples were collected and evaluated for haemoglobin estimation and malaria parasite, stool samples were examined for ova of helminth. Data was statistically analyzed using SPSS for windows version 20.0. The analyzed data were presented in tables and chart.
The prevalence of anaemia at booking was 16.7% in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital. Malaria infection was the major cause of anaemia amongst the study participant accounting for 75% of cases of anaemia while malaria and helminth co-infection accounted for only 3.1% of anaemia in the study participants. The prevalence of malaria, helminth and their co-infection at booking in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital were 24.5%, 0.5% and 0.5% respectively.
Malaria and helminth co-infection was less prevalent than malaria alone and it was also a less common cause of anaemia at booking in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital when compared with malaria infection alone.