Each year, 50 million women living in malaria-endemic areas become pregnant; one-half of these women live in Africa . It is estimated that 10,000 women and 200,000 infants die as a result of malaria infection during pregnancy; severe maternal anemia, prematurity, and low birth weight contribute to more than half of these deaths.
Human malaria is caused by five species of Plasmodia: P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae and P. knowlesi . Most infections are due to either P. falciparum or P. vivax, but mixed infections with more than one malarial species also occur. The majority of malaria-related deaths are due to P. falciparum.
The continued public health burden of malaria is due to a combination of factors, including:
●Increasing resistance of malarial parasites to chemotherapy
●Increasing resistance of the Anopheles mosquito vector to insecticides