Abstract

In 1992, the Gambian national impregnated bed net programme (NIBP) introduced insecticide treatment of bed nets into half of the primary health care villages in The Gambia. One component of the evaluation of this programme was the determination of whether it had any impact on the outcome of pregnancy in primigravidae. From February 1992, 651 primigravidae were recruited into the study. Less than 50% of them used an insecticide-treated bednet. During the rainy season the prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum among primigravidae was lower, fewer babies were classified as premature, and the mean birth weight was higher in villages where treated bed nets were used than in control villages. Therefore, during the rainy season, despite the low use of insecticide-treated bed nets by Gambian primigravidae, the NIBP had some impact on the outcome of pregnancy, particularly on the percentage of premature babies, and this was probably due to the decreased risk of malaria infection achieved during this period.

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