Lindi gains from campaing on use of SP tabs in pregnancy

23Jul 2019
Henry Mwangonde
The Guardian
Lindi gains from campaing on use of SP tabs in pregnancy

A programme to sensitise pregnant mothers to undertake Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine (SP) tablets as part of antenatal care services to immune expected mothers and their unborn babies against malaria has helped Lindi region to cut deaths caused by the deadly disease to almost zero.

Semeni Lubeya Nurse incharge Town Health Centre, Lindi District Municipal explains to Women attending clinic at the facility the importance of SP tablets as an immune to Malaria for their unborn children.

The drug is given during pregnancy to reduce maternal malaria episodes, maternal and fetal anaemia, placental parasitaemia, low birth weight, and neonatal mortality.

According to the Regional Medical Officer for Lindi Dr John Sijaona in 2016 when the programme started malaria prevalence in the region was 17percent and now it has dropped to 12percent.

He said almost 80- percent of pregnant women in Lindi have received at least two doses of SP Intermittent Preventive Treatment in pregnancy (IPTp1) (IPTp2) therapy since 2016 through the programme by the name Boresha Afya Southern Zone - a five year program funded by the United States Government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“We have done a lot on behavior change campaigns which has made 80-percent of pregnant women attend clinic from the 60- percent that we had in 2016 at the same time we have recoded zero deaths in 2018/ 2019 period,” he said.

He however said there still exist some social barriers in the uptake of the drugs for pregnant women including cultural prcatices, poverty and insufficient knowledge about malaria.

Lindi is endemic to Malaria with a prevalence of 12-percent against a national prevalence of 7.3percent, according to the 2017 Tanzania Malaria Indicator Survey.

An estimated 43 -percent of pregnant women in Lindi attending antenatal clinics have received three or more doses (IPTp3+) of this preventive therapy

As the case in many other countries in Sub-Sharan Africa, malaria is the leading cause of death in Tanzania among children under age five. Malaria transmission is high throughout the year, contributing to development of partial immunity within the first two years of life.

Malaria prevalence in the country decreased by half from 14.4 per cent recorded in 2016 to 7.3 in 2018.

The Coordinator for Mother and Child healthcare in Lindi Zinab Mathradas said through the programme healthcare providers have been trained on how to attend to a pregnant women and the tests to udergo during pregnancy.

The programe also uses others ways in prevention of malaria in pregnancy includes the use of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs),prompt diagnosis and effective treatment of malaria infections.

Tanzania has adopted the World Health Organization (WHO) policy to administer at least three doses of the drug (SP) during pregnancy at least one month apart at each scheduled antenatal care (ANC) visit, beginning from the second trimester.

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