Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy in central Mozambique

Paula E Brentlinger, Martinho Dgedge, Maria Ana Chadreque Correia, Ana Judith Blanco Rojas, Francisco Saúte, Kenneth H Gimbel-Sherr, Benjamin A Stubbs, Mary Anne Mercer, Stephen Gloyd


New WHO strategies for control of malaria in pregnancy (MiP) recommend intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp), bednet use and improved case management.


A pilot MiP programme in Mozambique was designed to determine requirements for scale-up.

Local setting

The Ministry of Health worked with a nongovernmental organization and an academic institution to establish and monitor a pilot programme in two impoverished malaria-endemic districts.

Relevant changes

Implementing the pilot programme required provision of additional sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), materials for directly observed SP administration, bednets and a modified antenatal card. National-level formulary restrictions on SP needed to be waived. The original protocol required modification because imprecision in estimation of gestational age led to missed SP doses. Multiple incompatibilities with other health initiatives (including programmes for control of syphilis, anaemia and HIV) were discovered and overcome. Key outputs and impacts were measured; 92.5% of 7911 women received at least 1 dose of SP, with the mean number of SP doses received being 2.2. At the second antenatal visit, 13.5% of women used bednets. In subgroups (1167 for laboratory analyses; 2600 births), SP use was significantly associated with higher haemoglobin levels (10.9 g/dL if 3 doses, 10.3 if none), less malaria parasitaemia (prevalence 7.5% if 3 doses, 39.3% if none), and fewer low-birth-weight infants (7.3% if 3 doses, 12.5% if none).

Lessons learned

National-level scale-up will require attention to staffing, supplies, bednet availability, drug policy, gestational-age estimation and harmonization of vertical initiatives.