Six years after the implementation of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) in Gabon, its impact on placental malaria and pregnancy outcomes remains unknown.Methods
Age, gestational data, use of IPTp-SP and birth weight were recorded during a hospital-based cross-sectional survey performed in 2011 in 387 women at the end of pregnancy.Results
Malaria prevalence was 6.7 and 5.3% in peripheral and placental blood respectively. Overall, 59.0% women took at least two IPTp-SP doses which was associated with 50% reduction of Plasmodium; (P.) falciparum infection in primigravidae. Previous malaria treatment was a risk factor for peripheral P. falciparum infection, while uptake of IPTp-SP was associated with reduced parasitaemia. Anaemia prevalence was 38.0%, low birth weight and prematurity rates were 6.0 and 12.0% respectively. Young age was associated with a higher frequency of malaria, anaemia, low birth weight and preterm delivery (p<0.01). Birth weight significantly rose with increasing age (p<0.01), parity (p=0.03) and number of SP doses (p=0.03). A birth weight reduction of 230 g in case of peripheral parasitaemia (p=0.02) and of 210 g with placental parasitaemia (p=0.13) was observed.Conclusions
Microscopic P. falciparum prevalence during pregnancy significantly declined between 2005 and 2011, following IPTp-SP implementation in Gabon. Young women and paucigravidae remain the most susceptible to malaria and associated outcomes.