ABSTRACT Background: Malaria infection during pregnancy is a major public health problem in tropical and subtropical regions globally. Anaemia is often an adverse outcome of severe parasitic infections during pregnancy in developing countries. Pregnant women in malaria-endemic communities are more susceptible to Plasmodium falciparum infections than non-pregnant women of child-bearing age. Objective: To comparativelyinvestigate malaria and anaemia in pregnant and non-pregnant women of child-bearing age. Design: A cross-sectional comparative study. Three hundred and eighty pregnant women and 380 non-pregnant women were screened for the study. Setting: The study was conducted at the University Hospital, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi,Ghana. Measurements: Participants’ demographic data were collected via the administration of questionnaires. In addition their blood samples were analyzed for haemoglobin level and malaria parasites, while stool samples from the pregnant women were examined for intestinal parasites. Results: The study revealed that pregnant women have higher malaria parasitaemia (12.6%) and anaemia (62.6%). The species of Plasmodium isolated from the pregnant women were P. falciparum (85.4%), P. malariae (4.2%) and P. ovale (10.4%). Malaria parasitaemia was higher in the primigravidae (14%). However multigravidae recorded the highest anaemia prevalence (67.1%). Age of pregnant women was a factor affecting malaria parasitaemia with a significant P-value and OR (P value = 0.0041, 0R =7.61).Conclusions: Pregnant women were more susceptible to malaria and anaemia than non-pregnant women of child-bearing age. Most of the pregnant women reported at antenatal clinic during the second trimester. Primigravidae however recorded the highest malaria parasitaemia. The main species of Plasmodium observed in the blood samples was falciparum.
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