The Rapid Assessment of the Burden of Malaria during Pregnancy: A Toolkit

Each year, more than 50 million women living in areas where malaria is transmitted become pregnant, and an estimated 200,000 newborns die as a result of their mothers’ infection. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the part of the world most affected by malaria, as many as 10,000 pregnant women die each year of malaria-related causes, chiefly anemia. Less is known about the effects of malaria during pregnancy in other parts of the world, but large numbers of pregnant women are at risk. Safe and effective interventions for pregnant women—intermittent preventive treatment, insecticide-treated mosquito nets, and febrile case management—can help prevent the consequences of malaria infection. Malaria-affected countries vary widely in their knowledge of the burden of malaria in pregnancy within their borders and of the impact of any interventions or programs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, along with many partners, have developed The Rapid Assessment of the Burden of Malaria during Pregnancy: A Toolkit.

This toolkit is a CD-ROM based resource designed to:

  • help countries obtain the information they need to assess the burden of malaria during pregnancy
  • develop a policy or program, to assess program implementation
  • evaluate impact

The information can also be used to advocate for policy change and to provide baseline data. When planning assessments, countries are encouraged to make use of pertinent recent data from reliable sources. However, because data may be lacking and because worldwide a relatively high number of women visit an antenatal clinic at least once during pregnancy (in sub-Saharan Africa, a high proportion visit at least once), the toolkit provides sample surveys and interview guides that can be used to conduct assessments in health facilities that serve pregnant women. By conducting an assessment, health staff can increase their knowledge of issues regarding malaria during pregnancy, while improving their ability to conduct operational research related to malaria during pregnancy.

The Rapid Assessment Toolkit provides most of the materials needed to conduct a rapid assessment on a CD-ROM:

  • general guidance about planning and conducting a rapid assessment (including where to locate existing data)
  • sample assessment instruments, both quantitative and qualitative, which can and should be adapted to local circumstances
  • specific information about how to use each tool
  • guidance about the use of the information obtained

Other resources—including relevant guidelines, sample PowerPoint presentations for training sessions, Word files of the instruments, and data analysis software (Epi Info)—are also on the CD-ROM.

The assessment has been piloted in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia. The lessons learned from conducting assessments in these regions are reflected in this package.

How to get a copy of the toolkit

The toolkit is being distributed to public health professionals working in malaria-endemic countries and non-governmental organizations working in the region. Contact to request a copy of the CD-ROM.

Page last reviewed: September 22, 2015