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1.  Maternal Anemia in Pregnancy: Assessing the Effect of Routine Preventive Measures in a Malaria-Endemic Area 
We investigated the effectiveness of routine preventive measures for anemia in Beninese pregnant women during pregnancy. Anemia (hemoglobin < 110 g/L) was common: 68.3% at first antenatal visit (ANV1), 64.7% at second antenatal visit (ANV2), and 40.6% at delivery. Parasitic infections and nutritional deficiencies were the most preventable causes. After intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp) and antihelminthic treatments, malaria prevalence decreased from 15.1% (ANV1) to 4.0% (ANV2) and increased again to 9.6% at delivery. Helminth infections dropped from 11.1% (ANV1) to 7.2% (ANV2) and 2.4% at delivery. Malaria was associated with lower mean hemoglobin on ANV1 and delivery, and iron deficiency was associated with lower mean hemoglobin on ANV1 and ANV2. IPTp and antihelminthic treatments were efficacious to clear parasitic infections and improve hematologic status, whereas the effectiveness of daily iron and folic acid supplements to correct iron and folate deficiencies and decrease anemia was less marked, possibly because of lack of compliance.
PMCID: PMC3583320  PMID: 23296448
2.  Maternal Anemia at First Antenatal Visit: Prevalence and Risk Factors in a Malaria-Endemic Area in Benin 
The risk factors for maternal anemia (hemoglobin level less than 110 g/L) were studied in human immunodeficiency virus–negative pregnant women in Benin at the time of first antenatal visit and prior to any prevention. Data for the first 1,005 pregnant women included in a multicentre randomized controlled trial were analyzed. Anemia was common (68.3%), and malaria and helminth infestations were prevalent in 15.2% and 11.1% of the women. A total of 33.3%, 31.3% and 3.6% of the women were iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 deficient, respectively. These parasitic infections and nutrient deficiencies were associated with a high risk of anemia. Twenty-one percent, 15%, 12%, 11% and 7% of anemia were attributable to malnutrition, malaria, iron, folic acid deficiencies, and helminth infestations, respectively. Most anemia was caused by factors that could be prevented by available tools, stressing the need to reinforce their implementation and to evaluate their effectiveness throughout the course of the pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC3435342  PMID: 22826498
3.  Maternal Anemia in Benin: Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Association with Low Birth Weight 
We studied the prevalence of anemia during pregnancy and its relationship with low birth weight (LBW; birth weight < 2,500 g) in Benin. We analyzed 1,508 observations from a randomized controlled trial conducted from 2005 to 2008 showing equivalence on the risk of LBW between two drugs for Intermittent Preventive Treatment of malaria during pregnancy (IPTp). Despite IPTp, helminth prophylaxis, and iron and folic acid supplementations, the proportions of women with severe anemia (hemoglobin [Hb] concentration < 80 g/L) and anemia (Hb < 110 g/L) were high throughout pregnancy: 3.9% and 64.7% during the second and 3.7% and 64.1% during the third trimester, but 2.5% and 39.6% at the onset of labor, respectively. Compared with women without anemia (Hb ≥ 110 g/L) during the third trimester, women with severe anemia (Hb < 80 g/L) were at higher risk of LBW after adjustment for potential confounding factors (prevalence ratio [PR] = 2.8; 95% confidence interval [1.4–5.6]).
PMCID: PMC3163859  PMID: 21896797
4.  Influence of the Timing of Malaria Infection during Pregnancy on Birth Weight and on Maternal Anemia in Benin 
Although consequences of malaria in pregnancy are well known, the period of pregnancy in which infection has the highest impact is still unclear. In Benin, we followed up a cohort of 1,037 women through pregnancy until delivery. The objective was to evaluate the relationship between the timing of infection and birth weight, and maternal anemia at delivery. At the beginning of pregnancy, peripheral infections were associated with a decrease in mean birth weight (−98.5 g; P = 0.03) and an increase in the risk of anemia at delivery (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.6; P = 0.03). Infections in late pregnancy were related to a higher risk of maternal anemia at delivery (aOR = 1.7; P = 0.001). To fully protect the women during the whole pregnancy, already implemented measures (insecticide-treated nets and intermittent preventive treatment) should be reinforced. In the future, a vaccine against pregnancy-associated malaria parasites could protect the women in early pregnancy, which seems to be a high-risk period.
PMCID: PMC3144815  PMID: 21813837
5.  Spontaneous Postpartum Clearance of Plasmodium falciparum Parasitemia in Pregnant Women, Benin 
The question of malaria in the postpartum period is controversial. Malaria was investigated during a randomized trial of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy in Benin. Women infected at delivery were tested for parasitemia in the early postpartum period; they had not received treatment unless they were symptomatic. Among the 35 of 1,346 infected women, parasitologic follow-up results could not be interpreted in 15 because they were treated for symptoms, 18 cleared parasitemia spontaneously within five days postpartum, and 2 had a strong decrease in parasitemia before being treated. Because the placenta is the privileged site for sequestration of parasites, it facilitates their persistence during pregnancy, and its elimination may rapidly induce their clearance.
PMCID: PMC3029180  PMID: 21292897
6.  Prevention of Malaria during Pregnancy: Assessing the Effect of the Distribution of IPTp Through the National Policy in Benin 
The efficiency of malaria prevention during pregnancy was compared between three studies in Benin for malaria infection of the placenta (MIP) and low birth weight (LBW). The first was carried out when chloroquine prophylaxis was still recommended, the second was an intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) clinical trial comparing sulfadoxine pyrimetamine (SP) versus mefloquine, and the third was an observational study after SP-IPTp national implementation. We showed an association between the use of IPTp and the reduction of LBW (10% with national IPTp and 8.7% in IPTp trial versus 15.7% in pre-trial study). The effect on MIP was better in the trial (2.9% versus 11.2% and 16.7% for national IPTp and pre-trial studies, respectively). In spite of a good overall compliance with the national IPTp (with 84% of women taking at least one dose of SP), there are still failures in adherence to the directly observed therapy (DOT) scheme and needs for better training of health staff.
PMCID: PMC3029181  PMID: 21292898
7.  Malaria Incidence and Prevalence Among Children Living in a Peri-Urban Area on the Coast of Benin, West Africa: A Longitudinal Study 
Clinical malaria incidence was determined over 18 months in a cohort of 553 children living in a peri-urban area near Cotonou. Three cross-sectional surveys were also carried out. Malaria incidence showed a marked seasonal distribution with two peaks: the first corresponding to the long rainy season, and the second corresponding to the overflowing of Lake Nokoue. The overall Plasmodium falciparum incidence rate was estimated at 84/1,000 person-months, and its prevalence was estimated at over 40% in the two first surveys and 68.9% in the third survey. Multivariate analysis showed that girls and people living in closed houses had a lower risk of clinical malaria. Bed net use was associated with a lower risk of malaria infection. Conversely, children of families owing a pirogue were at higher risk of clinical malaria. Considering the high pyrethroids resistance, indoor residual spraying with either a carbamate or an organophospate insecticide may have a major impact on the malaria burden.
PMCID: PMC2929036  PMID: 20810805

Results 1-7 (7)