The number of pregnant women and children in Sub-Saharan Africa, sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets has increased significantly, according to the World Health Organisation. But in some countries, progress has stalled. The 2019 World malaria report states that despite the growth, “accelerated efforts are needed to reduce infections and deaths in the hardest-hit countries, as progress stalls.”
In 2018, 228 million people got infected with malaria, 11 million of them were pregnant women, while 405,000 died, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Pregnancy makes women more susceptible to malaria infection, higher risk of illness, severe anaemia and death. This is in addition to the fact that maternal malaria interferes with the growth of the foetus, increasing the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight, a leading cause of child mortality, states WHO. According Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, the burden of suffering and death from malaria is unacceptable.