The mission of Nigerian Safe Birth Project is to assist in combating the malaria endemic in areas near Lagos, Nigeria. The project provides preventative tools and resources to high risk communities. These resources include, but are not limited to: insecticidal malaria nets, antimalarial drugs, antibiotics, basic lab test kits & materials, and advanced diagnostic equipment. In addition to providing medial assistance in clinical settings, the project will also be working with community-based educational organizations to provide "on the ground": counseling, outreach, and one-on-one education.
Current Needs of Nigeria
The two major tools for prevention of malaria in pregnant women are: preventative drugs and mosquito avoidance. In resource-limited areas of Africa there are several barriers to access, delivery, and the use of preventative drugs and mosquito avoidance. Survey data from African countries indicates that only about a quarter of pregnant women receive a full course of preventative treatment and only about a third use insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
Since 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the standard of care for pregnant women in areas with high malaria incidence be intermittent preventative treatment. Intermittent preventative treatment is the administration of preventative antimalarial drugs given in four consecutive prenatal care visits. The regimen is as follows: the first visit in the first trimester, a second visit at 24 to 26 weeks of pregnancy, a third visit at 32 weeks, and a fourth visit at 36 to 38 weeks. Each dose of treatment drugs suppresses or clears all existing infections and provides protection to the mother and child for up to six weeks after the mother’s last treatment.
Prompt and accurate diagnosis of malaria is critical for implementation of appropriate treatment to reduce severe sickness and potential death. Accurate detection of malaria is important for: accurately recording the number of infections per year in a given region and continuing scientific studies that monitor the efficacy of antimalarial drugs and vaccines.
Characteristics of a useful malaria diagnostic tool include the ability to:
· Definitively establish presence or absence of an infection
· Determine the species of malaria present
· Determine the amount of malaria present in the body
· Monitor response to antimalarial drugs
· Monitor the frequency of recurrent malarial infection
Thus far, there is no single malaria diagnostic tool that meets all of these criteria, therefore gathering a detailed and correct medical history is also vital to treatment.
How Nigerian Safe Birth Project Will Help?
· Providing basic medical equipment including (but not limited to):
o Blood Tubes
· Providing insecticidal-treated bed nets
· Outreach and counseling to "high-er risk" communities
· Screening for malaria
o Signs and symptoms of malaria infection
o Likelihood of recurrent infection
· Providing physical exams for mothers and mothers-to-be
· Providing child wellness exams
· Raising funds for more advanced diagnostic tools including:
o Rapid Blood Testing Kits
Meet the Organizers
Vincent B. Ofori
Cover photography provided by: Pierre Holtz for UNICEF