Tanzania: Govt Discourages Sp Administration to Expectant Mothers

HEALTH experts have discouraged administering Sulfadoxine- pyrimethamine (SP) doses to expectant mothers in the region during Antenatal care.

The experts who met here last Monday for a media workshop, observed that Arusha featured among the regions with the least malaria prevalence; hence there was need of not prescribing pregnant women with the medicine.

"Pregnant women in Manyara, Arusha and Kilimanjaro shouldn't be prescribed with SP as malaria prevalence in these areas is not as bad as in other parts of the region," opined Dr Abdallah Lusasi from the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP).

Alternatively, Dr Lusasi said it was imperative to provide the women with Long lasting Insecticidal Treated Nets (LLINs) which form part of the ministry's Integrated Malaria Vector Control Intervention. Sold under the brand name Fansidar, SP is a combination of medication used to treat malaria.

It contains Sulfadoxine and Pyrimethamine while for the treatment of the killer disease; it is typically used along with other anti-malarial medication such as artesunate.

The World Health Organisation(WHO) says a woman should receive at least 3 doses of SP during her pregnancy, with each dose being given at least 1 month apart, noting that SP can also be safely administered up until the time of delivery.

Just like Manyara and Kilimanjaro, malaria prevalence rate in Arusha currently stands at below one per cent, according to Tanzania Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS 2017).

Kigoma leads the pack with the highest malaria prevalence rate of 24.4 per cent, followed by Geita at 17.3 per cent and Kagera having 15.4 per cent. Others are Mtwara and Ruvuma regions, which have 14.8 and 11.8 per cent respectively.

"Kigoma and the likes have the highest prevalence rates because high temperatures and humidity are found in the areas," added Dr Lusasi.

On her part, Dr Sijenunu Aron also from NMCP informed journalists that the prevalence of lifethreatening disease in Tanzania had reduced by 50 per cent, from 14.8 per cent in 2015, to 7.5 in 2017. According to the medical expert, malaria incidence among a 1000 people had reduced by 34.6 per cent.

"The number of deaths to malaria has also decreased from 6,311 in 2015 to 2,460 in 2020," she expounded.

The government has rolled out a number of integrated Malaria Vector Control Interventions namely LLINs, Indoor Residual Spraying and Larval Source Management.

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