MPH/MMS Student/Faculty Research on Malaria During Pregnancy Published

By Ryan Hiemenz '23 | June 21, 2023

Arcadia University dual degree student Claire Bash ’24MMS, MPH and Heather F. McClintock, Ph.D, MSPH, MSW, associate professor in the Department of Public Health, recently published their peer-reviewed research that studies antenatal care-seeking and medication-taking behaviors to prevent malaria-related adverse outcomes in Gambia.

Their research states, “Malaria during pregnancy is a major contributor to maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in Gambia.” The World Health Organization recommends that women take at least 3 doses of intermittent preventive treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP-IPTp) provided through antenatal care (ANC) to prevent adverse malaria-related outcomes such as low-birth-weight babies and maternal mortality. 

Using data from the 2019-2020 Women’s Health Survey from the Gambia Demographic and Health Survey, Bash and McClintock used χ2 tests and multivariate logistic regression to evaluate the influence of antenatal care and sociodemographic characteristics on SP-IPTp commitment.

Within the research they conclude, “Among 5381 women, less than half (47.3%) achieved adherence (three or more doses) to SP-IPTp. More than three-quarters (79.7%) attended four or more ANC visits. Women who attended four ANC visits were twice as likely to adhere to SP-IPTp than women who attended none to three ANC visits (adjusted odds ratio 2.042 [95% confidence interval 1.611 to 2.590]).” Findings suggest that a multifaceted approach may be needed that engages medical providers, policy makers, and communities to strengthen healthcare systems in ways that may promote ANC care attendance and medication-taking behaviors to ultimately reduce the burden of malaria in Gambia. 

From here, Bash and McClintock will continue to research structural and health care components that influence access to and quality of healthcare. Their research was published in Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and can be viewed here.