(Dianah Otiend, pictured in main image)
Dianah Otiend is a mother of three from Homa Bay in Kenya. While pregnant with her third child, she contracted malaria.
During the early stages of pregnancy, she could no longer feel her baby, so she went to a hospital where doctors decided on early delivery amid concerns for her safety and that of her unborn baby.
With 125 million pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa at risk of contracting malaria, her story is not unusual. Doctors in Kenya, and across Africa, see such cases every day.
Thankfully, Dianah’s story had a positive outcome. Baby Elizabeth, who weighed a little over 1kg at birth and was placed in an incubator, gained weight and is now at home with her family.
Dianah’s story is the subject of a film that underlines the work of MMV’s MiMBa strategy, which aims to raise standards of care for women and their newborns affected by malaria by collecting data via a pregnancy exposure registry of outcomes for pregnant women who have been given antimalarial therapies.
Taking action against malaria
The Speed Up Scale-Up campaign aims to accelerate access to treatment for pregnant women in malaria-endemic countries.
Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy (IPTp) is administered by giving a minimum of three doses of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine at least a month apart from the second term of pregnancy to protect pregnant women and the foetus from malaria, reducing the incidence of maternal anaemia, stillbirths and low birth weight.
Last year, only one in three eligible women received IPTp, though that was up from 1% in 2010.
Call to action
African leaders have also been targeted with an open letter with over 1,000 signatories to raise awareness of the need to improve access to IPTp in countries where too many pregnant women are still suffering from malaria.