Approximately over 125 million pregnant women residing in low-and middle-income countries are at high risk of being infected by Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax parasites every year (1). The immediate consequence is malaria, a disease that affects not only mothers’ mortality for instant due to anemia, but also the development of the placenta and the fetal growth of the unborn children. Babies of malnutrition infected mothers are often born with a too low birth weight (< 2.500 g) and have limited survival chances. Malnourished pregnant women are considered to be particularly susceptible, since a poor nutritional condition affects the immune defense of mother and child in a variety of ways.
The Maternal Malaria and Malnutrition (M3) initiative evaluates 13 research studies to improve the understanding of the interactions between malaria and malnutrition and to develop adjusted programs that prevent long-term harm for mother and child by preventing malaria and malnutrition (2). According to recommendations of the WHO Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, the risk of low birth weight and maternal anemia should be reduced through the prevention and treatment of malaria and through adequate nutrition during pregnancy (3).
(1) Dellicour S. et al. Quantifying the number of pregnancies at risk of malaria in 2007: a demographic study. Available via: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5223676/#R1
(2) HW Unger et al. Maternal Malaria and Malnutrition (M3) initiative, a pooled birth cohort of 13 pregnancy studies in Africa and the Western Pacific. Available via: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28003287
(3) The WHO estimates that national programs against malnutrition and for prevention of low birth weight as well as infectious diseases are not sufficiently efficient because they treat these two components as isolated subjects. WHO. Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, 2016–2030. Available via: http://www.who.int/entity/life-course/partners/global-strategy/global-strategy-2016-2030/en/index.html
To the present efficiency of food supplements in Ivory Coast see: F Rohner et al. The Potential of Food Fortification to Add Micronutrients in Young Children and Women of Reproductive Age – Findings from a Cross-Sectional Survey in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. PLoS One. 2016; 11(7): e0158552. Available via: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4934880/