A new study shows malaria’s often neglected toll on a vulnerable population: Pregnant women

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A pregnant mother watches over her malaria-stricken daughter at a hospital in a Sudanese refugee camp. | © Viviane Moos/Corbis via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of women die and hundreds of thousands of babies are stillborn due to malaria. We can do better.

Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, especially young children. It’s also exceptionally dangerous to another at-risk group: pregnant women.

Researchers have estimated that 10 to 20 percent of maternal mortality in countries where malaria is endemic is malaria-related. That’s almost 30,000 women every year. Pregnancy loss, and long-term disability caused by exposure to malaria in utero, are even more common. And many drugs that are used to save people dying of malaria are not safe to use during pregnancy, or are not widely used even though they are safe.

A new study published in The Lancet: Child and Adolescent Health offers a comprehensive account of just how much this deadly disease affects pregnant women — and suggests that changing treatment options could significantly improve the situation.

Even as we’ve fought to combat malaria deaths overall, we haven’t done as much as we could…


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