Malaria infection in pregnancy is a major cause of maternal death, maternal anaemia, and other adverse pregnancy outcomes. The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018 estimated that 11 million pregnant women were infected with malaria in areas of moderate and high disease transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, nearly 900,000 children were born with a low birth weight. It is therefore recommended by the WHO that countries prioritize controlling malaria and its effects during pregnancy.
HFFG with the support of the National Malaria Control Programme, implemented the Malaria Control Project in collaboration with the Twifo Atti-Mokwa District Health Management Team under the National Malaria Control Programmes. The goal of the project was to minimize malaria-related morbidity and mortality burden in the country, especially among pregnant women. The project lasted from July 2021 to December 2021.The implementation took place in 15 communities with high malaria prevalence namely; Kayireku, Mbaabasa, Somnyamekodur, Bepobeng, Moseaso, Nyinase, Abodom, Aboabo, Nyinase Kojokrom, Nuamakrom, Bimpong Egya, Wamaso, Mampoma and Eduabeng.
To achieve the goals of the project, Community Based Agents (CBAs) were selected and empowered to provide community level sensitization on malaria control interventions using the available systems. The CBAs as part of their work identified and linked them to health facilities for to Intermittent Preventive Treatment services.
The agents also sensitized and followed up on the pregnant women to ensure adherence to uptake of Intermittent Preventive Treatment for Pregnant Women. Emerging issues were discussed with stakeholders to resolve them and documentation of best practices.
Hawa, a 22 year old native of Twifo Atti-Mokwa district in the Central region of Ghana was one of the women identified by a CBA. Hawa was suffering from epilepsy right from her childhood and this condition affected her social life. In her first pregnancy, she could not receive and participate in the prenatal care services due to the fear that receiving any of medication could worsen her condition and may facilitate numerous complications. Unfortunately, she lost the baby. “My first pregnancy was lost due to frequent falling and injuries as a result of seizure episodes and loss of consciousness but when I got pregnant for the second time, I was identified by a community based agent under the Malaria Project by HFFG”, Hawa narrated. “The Community Based Agent came to our house one day to educate us about the malaria control interventions and when she realized that I was pregnant, she advised me to start antenatal clinic as soon as possible to receive medical attention and be guided by a health practitioner.”
With the help of the CBA and the HFFG project team, Hawa started attending clinic at Nyinase Community Health-Based Planning Services compound. She was provided with Intermittent Preventive Treatment therapy and subsequently referred to the Twifo Praso Government hospital to receive special medical attention till she successfully gave birth to a set of healthy twins.
“I never experienced malaria infection nor seizure crises throughout my second pregnancy. I completed all my Intermittent Preventive Treatment dosages and also slept consistently under treated mosquito net without any complications. Now I have given birth to beautiful healthy twins. I am grateful to the malaria project team for checking up on me regularly”.
Within the duration of the project, 191 pregnant women from the beneficiary communities were identified and reached with malarial prevention information by the project team. In total 38,033 individuals were reached through various means including (house-to-house, churches, schools, mosques, mobile van announcement, community information centres, community centres, video shows and durbar sensitizations) and through one-on-one education and group discussions.