Annually around 247 million cases of malaria are reported with almost a million deaths, especially among African children. Introduction of appropriate and timely medications may reduce deaths among such infants. Scientists from the University of Sydney claim that intake of a combination of iron-folic acid supplements and World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended anti-malarial drugs during pregnancy can decrease early infant mortality in sub-Saharan Africa by a quarter.
The antenatal iron-folic acid supplement may be commonly prescribed for expecting mothers. But it seems to elevate malaria among women and children in sub-Saharan Africa. Conclusions were drawn after examining data accumulated from 19 malaria-endemic African countries. The effect of combining iron-folic acid supplements with malarial prophylaxis during pregnancy was thoroughly scrutinized. The relationship shared between the usage of medications and neonatal death which occurred during the first 30 days of life was monitored.
Dr Christiana Titaley, lead investigator of the research remarked, “Only about one sixth of the 185,000-plus women investigated took a combination of folic/iron supplements and WHO-recommended sulfadoxine-pyramethamine anti-malarial drugs during pregnancy. These women’s children were 24 percent less likely to die in the first month of life than infants whose mothers used neither. The prevalence of malaria in many parts of Africa muddies the advice given to most expecting mothers to take iron/folic acid supplements to reduce the risk of anaemia and birth defects.”
After the inspection, it was concluded that a combination of effective anti-malarial drug can tremendously pull down the number of neonatal mortality in at-risk regions of the world. Regions lacking required health care resources may benefit from the findings of this research.
The research has been published in the latest edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.