Prevent malaria in pregnancy

November 18, 2018
A translation for this article is available in French Swahili

This week’s Farmer story from Burkina Faso deals with maternal health, and mentions that malaria is one of the leading causes of miscarriages, premature births, and low birth weight babies in Burkina Faso. Our Script of the week is a drama that vividly portrays the risks of malaria during pregnancy.

Malaria kills over one million people globally each year, most of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. Over 300 million cases of malaria are reported in health centres worldwide. This is five times as many as the cases of TB, AIDS, measles, and leprosy combined. Malaria is responsible for one out of every four childhood deaths in Africa. And those who survive an episode of severe malaria may suffer from serious physical and mental disabilities.

Women are four times more likely to get sick and twice as likely to die from malaria if they are pregnant. In Zambia, 20% of maternal deaths are due to malaria. Pregnant women and children with malaria occupy a large percentage of hospital beds.

Health experts recommend several practices to prevent transmission of malaria. One suggestion is to use insecticide-treated bednets in homes. Another is to spray homes and surroundings with insecticides. Pregnant women living in malaria-endemic areas must take anti-malarial drugs each time they are pregnant in order to protect themselves and their unborn child.

This script focuses on the experience of a Zambian woman who is seven months pregnant. It shows what she experienced when malaria hit her hard.

The drama is based on actual interviews with a pregnant woman and health workers. You could use this script as inspiration to research and write a script on a similar topic in your area. Or you might choose to produce this script on your station, using voice actors to represent the speakers.