Volume 98, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Prompt diagnosis and effective treatment of acute malaria in pregnancy (MiP) is important for the mother and fetus; data on health-care provider adherence to diagnostic guidelines in pregnancy are limited. From September to November 2013, a cross-sectional survey was conducted in 51 health facilities and 39 drug outlets in Western Kenya. Provider knowledge of national diagnostic guidelines for uncomplicated MiP were assessed using standardized questionnaires. The use of parasitologic testing was assessed in health facilities via exit interviews with febrile women of childbearing age and in drug outlets via simulated-client scenarios, posing as pregnant women or their spouses. Overall, 93% of providers tested for malaria or accurately described signs and symptoms consistent with clinical malaria. Malaria was parasitologically confirmed in 77% of all patients presenting with febrile illness at health facilities and 5% of simulated clients at drug outlets. Parasitological testing was available in 80% of health facilities; 92% of patients evaluated at these facilities were tested. Only 23% of drug outlets had malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs); at these outlets, RDTs were offered in 17% of client simulations. No differences were observed in testing rates by pregnancy trimester. The study highlights gaps among health providers in diagnostic knowledge and practice related to MiP, and the lack of malaria diagnostic capacity, particularly in drug outlets. The most important factor associated with malaria testing of pregnant women was the availability of diagnostics at the point of service. Interventions that increase the availability of malaria diagnostic services might improve malaria case management in pregnant women.


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Supplemental Table

  • Received : 25 Jul 2017
  • Accepted : 27 Jan 2018

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