Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease caused due to the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, resulting in symptoms such as high fever, nausea, fatigue, and headache among others. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), this life-threatening disease infected an estimated 241 million people worldwide in 2020. As such, to spread awareness about malaria and recognise global efforts to control it, World Malaria Day is observed on April 25, every year.
This year, it is being celebrated with the theme – ‘Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives’. While everyone needs to follow preventive measures, expectant mothers need to be even more careful as malaria infection during pregnancy can have adverse effects on both mother and fetus, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes.
According to a Lancet study, it remains one of the most preventable causes of adverse birth outcomes. Explaining the same, Dr Seema Sharma, Senior Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram, said, “Malaria can cause havoc during pregnancy because it can be harmful to both baby and the mother. Untreated malaria can cause maternal anaemia, fetal loss, premature delivery, intrauterine growth retardation, and delivery of low birth-weight infants.”
Tips for pregnant women
To prevent the infection, expectant mothers must follow these tips, as shared by the expert.
*They should not travel to malaria-endemic areas.
*They should take antimalarial pills (after a doctor’s consultation) and avoid mosquito bites.
*Pregnant women should sleep under an insecticide-treated bednet.
*They should keep their house clean and well-ventilated.
*Water stagnation anywhere near the house should be cleaned immediately.