Presumptive treatment with mebendazole and the prevalence of peripartum anaemia among pregnant women at the university of calabar teaching hospital, calabar, nigeria

Ubong Akpan, Mabel Ekott, Atim Udoh, Udeme Asibong, Henry Okpara, Emmanuel Monjok and Saturday Etuk

WHO recommends antenatal deworming of pregnant women living in areas where the prevalence of helminthes infection exceeds 20-30%. However, mass deworming is not yet included in routine antenatal care protocols in Calabar and in many other countries. The prevalence of helminthes infection in Calabar was reported at 28.3% in previous study. In this study, presumptive treatment of pregnant women in their second trimester with oral Mebendazole (500mg), a broad-spectrum anthelmithic drug, was carried out. The aim of the study was to establish the impact of ante-natal deworming on the prevalence of peripartum anaemia in pregnancy. This was a placebo controlled study where 560 pregnant women in their second trimester were randomized to receiving single dose mebendazole (500mg) and placebo. They were followed-up to term and haemoglobin levels were determined pre-treatment and at term. Anaemia was considered for hemoglobin values of less than 11g/dl or Packed cell volume (PCV) of less than 33% according to WHO. The prevalence of anaemia in the treatment group was 12.6% compared with 29.9% in the placebo (p<0.001). Anaemia was recorded more among women with high parity (OR=5.063, 95% CI=1,531-16.743). Inclusion of anthelminthics in routine antenatal care programme can significantly improve maternal health.

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