IPTp: For healthier babies
Children whose immune systems are not yet fully developed and women whose immunity is compromised by pregnancy are among malaria’s easiest targets. For that reason, the ELCA Malaria Campaign’s church companions are planning a lot of programming that specifically targets women and small children.
IPTp (“Intermittent preventative treatment for pregnant women”) is one of the methods of malaria control that’s being used by many of our ELCA Malaria Campaign companions in Africa.
Here’s how IPTp works: twice during the course of a pregnancy, women come to the clinic and receive malaria treatment medication. Malaria infection during pregnancy can be asymptomatic, so it is not always apparent when a pregnant woman is infected. For this reason, pregnant women are treated for malaria as if they were infected, and a diagnostic test is not required. The goal of IPTp is to clear out existing cases of malaria and to prevent re-infection during pregnancy. This protects both mother and child from malaria-related complications (or death) during pregnancy and birth.
Here are a couple of the great benefits of IPTp:
- It doesn’t require that clinics have access to diagnostic equipment, because all pregnant women are given the malaria treatment medication.
- IPTp has been proven to reduce the prevalence of anemia in the mother, low birth weight in babies, and premature birth (a symptom of malaria). This means that the baby has a much greater chance of being born healthy, and the mother has a much greater chance of being healthy enough to take excellent care of her newborn.
ELCA Malaria Campaign