Malaria is a public health problem throughout the world. Of the estimated 250 million cases each year worldwide, 86% occur in Sub-Saharan Africa.* There are about 25 million pregnant women in malaria-endemic areas, but only a fraction of these women have access to effective interventions to prevent and control malaria. Although malaria is preventable, it is a major cause of maternal and newborn illness and death in Africa, resulting in about 10,000 maternal deaths and between 75,000 and 200,000 infant deaths each year. Malaria causes maternal anemia, as well as spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and low birth weight in newborns.
In April 2000, the African Heads of State and Government meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, recognized that malaria was a serious issue, particularly to pregnant women and children under 5 years of age. They developed the Abuja Declaration, which stated the following goals for prevention and control of malaria in pregnancy by 2005: (a) at least 60% of pregnant women will have access to and use effective preventive measures, and (b) at least 60% of children under five will have access to prompt and effective treatment.
In November 2005, during the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership Forum V, in Yaoundé, Cameroon, a "Yaoundé Call to Action on Malaria" was developed. It calls for implementing the RBM Global Strategic Plan 2005–2015, which includes revised Abuja goals and targets by 2010, summarized as follows:
The international health community is responding to this challenge. The RBM partnership is working with national malaria control programs and national reproductive health programs to update malaria policies and guidelines and to ensure effective implementation of the new policies.
In an effort to improve effectiveness and efficiency in implementing new policy guidelines, several agencies have joined together to develop generic tools for countries to adapt and use as the basis for their specific implementation strategy.
This resource package provides tools including training resources, programming resources, and reference materials to help implement programs that will reduce malaria in pregnancy and provide effective treatment for pregnant women with malaria.
We hope that this resource package will be useful for policymakers, public health professionals, and managers. We appreciate any feedback you have on how the resource package is used, preferably in the form of a 1–2 page case study that we may include in subsequent versions of the package to help other countries use the materials.
If you have any questions regarding any of the material in the resource package, please contact the agency that developed the material, as listed in the Acknowledgments section.
* World Health Organization (WHO). 2008. World Malaria Report 2008. WHO: Geneva. At: www.who.int/malaria/wmr2008