Paediatric malaria: a ten-year retrospective study at the national hospital, Abuja, Nigeria

IC Peletiri, JO Ajobiewe, NKO Ibecheozor



A ten year study of malaria amongst paediatric patients was carried out in the Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria, West Africa from 2000 to 2010. Giemsa staining methodology was used. Of the 24 289 blood samples analyzed (comprising of 13 435 male children and 10 854 female children), 8668 (35·7%) were positive for malaria parasites. 267 (3·1%) had parasite density of > 5000 parasites/Zl of blood; 382 (4·4%) had between 500 – 5000 parasites/Zl of blood; 1262 (14·6%) had between 50 – 500 parasites/Zl of blood; while 6757 (77·9%) had between 5 – 50 parasites/Zl of blood. The 11-15 years age group had the highest prevalence of 40·6%, while neonates (<1 – 28 days), 1 month – 5 years, and 6 – 10 years age groups recorded 27·2%, 34.5% and 36·5% respectively. Of the 13 435 male children, 4845 (36·1%) had positive malaria result as against 35·2% (3823) of positive cases recorded among the 10854 female children. There is need to enhance parasitological diagnosis by way of providing diagnostic tolls at all levels of health care – primary (rural settings), secondary and tertiary. There are negative implications associated with the continued use of malaria rapid diagnostic tests (M-RDTs) methodologies which includes underdiagnosis, misdiagnosis of malaria and mismanagement of non-malarial fever, which wastes limited resources, erodes confidence in the health care system, and contributes to drug resistance. Finally, appropriate antimalarial drugs for treatment should be given free to all malaria positive children.

Keywords: Malaria, paediatric patients, parasite density, prevalence, laboratory diagnosis, treatment.

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