Prevalence and factors associated with placental malaria among women in Lira Regional Referral Hospital.
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ABSTRACT Introduction: Malaria has a stable perennial transmission across most parts of Uganda. Placental malaria is associated with adverse maternal, fetal, and neonatal outcomes. The magnitude and the factors associated with placental malaria have not been studied in our setting. The purpose of the study was to determine the prevalence of placental malaria and its associated factors among parturient women of Lira Regional Referral Hospital. Methods This was a cross-sectional study design which was conducted in Lira Regional Referral Hospital. The study was done among 366 pregnant women who had come to deliver in the Hospital. The interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect the socio-demographic, obstetric characteristics, and malaria preventive practices of the participants. The Standard diagnostic Bioline (Ref: 05FK60) rapid diagnostic test was used to detect placental malaria present in the placental blood. Microscopy was used to quantify the severity of placental malaria infection. The odds ratios were used to infer associations between the independent variables and placental malaria. The independent variables were significant when the p-value was ≤ 0.05 at 95% confidence interval. Results The prevalence of placental malaria was estimated at 16/366 (4.4%). Microscopy revealed 13% moderate severity and 31% mild severity of malaria parasitaemia. Age of less than 20 years (AOR=3.483, 95% CI 1.131-10.726), and not taking iron supplements during pregnancy (AOR=3.548, 95% CI 1.022-12.315) were associated with an increased likelihood of having placental malaria parasitaemia at the time of delivery. The uptake of Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine for intermittent prevention of malaria during pregnancy, primiparity and secundiparity were not significantly associated with increased likelihood of developing placental malaria. Conclusion The prevalence of placental malaria in this study was low. Nearly, one in every 22 women had malaria infection at the time of delivery. Placental malaria infection was significantly associated with young age of less than 20 years, and women who were not taking iron supplements during pregnancy.