Korean J Parasitol.  2009 Jun;47(2):179-183. 10.3347/kjp.2009.47.2.179.

Prevalence of Malaria in Pregnant Women in Lagos, South-West Nigeria

  • 1WHO/TDR Malaria Specimen Bank Collection Site, Tropical Diseases Research Laboratory, Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, College of Medicine of the University of Lagos, Nigeria. wellao@yahoo.com
  • 2Malaria Research Laboratory, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, P.M.B. 2013 Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.
  • 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine of the University of Lagos, Nigeria.


Prevalence rates reported for malaria in pregnancy in Nigeria vary considerably. The accuracy of results of malaria diagnosis is dependent on training, experience, and motivation of the microscopist as well as the laboratory facility available. Results of training programmes on malaria microscopy have shown low levels of sensitivity and specificity of those involved in malaria diagnosis routinely and for research. This study was done to ascertain the true prevalence of malaria in pregnancy in Lagos, South-West Nigeria. A total of 1,084 pregnant women were recruited into this study. Blood smears stained with Giemsa were used for malaria diagnosis by light microscopy. Malaria infection during pregnancy presents mostly as asymptomatic infection. The prevalence of malaria in this population was 7.7% (95% confidence interval; 6.2-9.4%). Factors identified to increase the risk of malaria infection include young maternal age (< 20 years), and gravidity (primigravida). In conclusion, this study exposes the over-diagnosis of malaria in pregnancy and the need for training and retraining of laboratory staffs as well as establishing the malaria diagnosis quality assurance programme to ensure the accuracy of malaria microscopy results at all levels.


malaria; diagnosis; prevalence rate; pregnancy; Nigeria
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