Asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia using rapid diagnostic test in unbooked pregnant women in rural Ondo-south district, Nigeria


Background. Malaria is a major contributor of maternal and peri-natal morbidity and mortality. The disease may be asymp- tomatic despite sequestration of parasitized red blood cells in the placental micro-circulation with antecedent complications. In such condition, it may also be difficult to identify the malaria parasite by the peripheral blood film microscopy, thus the need for use of simple but reliable tool for malaria parasite diagnosis. Objective and method. To determine the prevalence of asymp- tomatic malaria parasitaemia using the Rapid Diagnostic Test in pregnant unbooked women seen in a primary health centre dur- ing a malaria control campaign programme in rural Ondo-south, District Nigeria. Results. Prevalence of asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia was 25.9%. Only 3 (3.5%) of the 85 women had the long lasting insecticide-treated nets. There was no significant association between malaria parasitaemia, and the age group, parity and gestation age. Conclusion. Given the high prevalence of asymptomatic malaria in pregnancy, routine screening for malaria at booking and scaling-up of other malaria control strategies such as the use of long lasting insecticidal-treated nets and intermittent preventive therapy for pregnant women are recommended.