Malaria is a major health problem in the tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world. It is a communicable protozoa disease caused by sporozoon of the genus plasmodium and transmitted to man by species of infective female anopheles mosquito that is the vector. Plasmodium falciparum infection which is the most deadly form of disease has been found to be the major cause of malaria. In Africa, malaria kills 3,000 children under the age of five everyday.
Pregnant women are more susceptible than the general population to malaria. They are more likely to become infected, suffered a recurrence, develop complications and to die from the disease. Malaria contributes very significantly to maternal and foetal mortality with at least 10,000 maternal deaths per annum attributable in sub-Saharan Africa.
Subclinical infection is common in area where natural immunity is high (e.g. sub-Saharan Africa), whereas symptomatic cases are more common in areas with low immunity e.g. Asia, South Africa. Globally, about 125 million women are at risk of malaria every year. Malaria makes a large but unquantifiable contribution to low birth weight in infant in the developing world, a major cause of morbidity and mortality in infants and children.