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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1990 Jul-Aug;84(4):496-8.

Antenatal chloroquine chemoprophylaxis in Malawi: chloroquine resistance, compliance, protective efficacy and cost.

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  • 1Combatting Childhood Communicable Diseases Program, Ministry of Health, Malawi.


The roles of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to chloroquine and compliance in the protective efficacy of the antenatal chloroquine prophylaxis programme in Malawi were evaluated by interviewing pregnant women attending antenatal clinics and examining them for P. falciparum parasites in thick smears and chloroquine metabolites in urine. 36% of 642 women had urine chloroquine metabolite levels compatible with regular compliance to the weekly chloroquine dosage schedule. Among a subgroup of 288 pregnant women who were provided weekly prophylaxis under supervision for 4 consecutive weeks, P. falciparum infection rates were 37%, representing the failure of chloroquine to eliminate P. falciparum in Malawi. Among pregnant women not taking prophylaxis, the P. falciparum infection rate was 48%. Based on the P. falciparum infection rates among these 2 groups of women, the protective efficacy of CQ chloroquine was estimated as 23%. If the 36% of pregnant women who had chloroquine in their urines accurately estimates the proportion of women who comply with the prophylaxis programme in Malawi, the actual protective efficacy of the programme would be 8%. The cost of preventing one P. falciparum infection among pregnant women in the Malawi programme is estimated at US$ 10.87. This is an unacceptably high cost in much of Africa, and research is required to define more cost-effective interventions, including more effective drugs, and health education programmes to improve compliance among pregnant women.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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