Prevalence of malaria parasitaemia in school children from two districts of Ghana earmarked for indoor residual spraying: a cross-sectional study

Background: Indoor residual spraying (IRS) is considered a valuable transmission control measure against malaria but exact efficacy data are not available for many epidemiological settings. This study was conducted to determine indicators for malaria epidemiology and transmission among school children as baseline assessment before IRS imple‑ mentation in Ghana. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Adansi South District of the Ashanti Region and Wa West District of the Upper West Region of Ghana. Malarial parasitaemia and anaemia were determined in pupils between the ages of 2 and 14 years from Early Childhood Development Centres and primary schools. Plasmodium falciparum parasitae‑ mia was detected by light microscopy. Results: Out of 1,649 pupils who were enrolled at participating schools, 684 were positive for plasmodia resulting in a baseline parasitaemia prevalence of 41.5%. Parasite rate was similar in the two districts (42.0% in Adansi South and 40.7% in Wa West), but differed across the nine sentinel schools ranging from 21 to 63% (p < 0.001). The mean haemoglobin concentration was 11.3 g/dl [standard deviation (SD) ±2.1]. Pupils who had moderate to mild anaemia (7.0–10.9 g/dl) constituted 41.7% of the study sample. Conclusion: The burden of parasitaemia, malaria and anaemia is a major public health problem among school chil‑ dren in rural Ghana with extensive heterogeneity between schools and warrants further investment in intervention measures.
This article is published by BioMed Central.
Sarpong et al. Malar J (2015) 14:260 DOI 10.1186/s12936-015-0772-6