Background: Malaria and HIV are common infections in Africa and cause substantial morbidity and mortality in pregnant women. We aimed to assess the association of malaria with anemia in pregnant women and to explore the joint effects of malaria and HIV infection on anemia in pregnant women. Methods: We used nationally representative, cross-sectional demographic and health surveys (DHS) that were conducted between 2012 and 2017 across 7 countries of sub-Saharan Africa (Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Togo). The outcome variables were anemia (defined as a hemoglobin concentration < 110 g/L), and hemoglobin concentration on a continuous scale, in pregnant women at the time of the interview. We used generalized linear mixed-effects models to account for the nested structure of the data. We adjusted models for individual covariates, with random effects of the primary sampling unit nested within a country. Results: A total of 947 pregnant women, ages, 15-49 y, were analyzed. Prevalence of malaria only, HIV only, and malaria- HIV coinfection in pregnant women was 31% (95% CI: 28.5 to 34.5%, n = 293), 1.3% (95% CI: 0.77 to 2.4%, n = 13) and 0.52% (95% CI: 0.02 to 1.3%, n = 5) respectively. Overall prevalence of anemia was 48.3% (95% CI: 45.1 to 51.5%). The anemia prevalence in pregnant women with malaria infection only was 56.0% (95% CI: 50.1 to 61.7%); HIV infection only, 62.5% (95% CI: 25.9 to 89.8%); malaria- HIV coinfection, 60.0 (95% CI: 17.0-92.7%) and without either infection, 44.6% (95% CI: 40.7 to 48.6%). In the fully adjusted models, malaria infection was associated with 27% higher prevalence of anemia (95% CI of prevalence ratio: 1.12 to 1.45; p = 0.004), and 3.4 g/L lower hemoglobin concentration (95% CI: - 5.01 to - 1.79; p = 0.03) compared to uninfected pregnant women. The prevalence of HIV infection and malaria-HIV coinfection was too low to allow meaningful analysis of their association with anemia or hemoglobin concentration. Conclusion: Malaria was associated with an increased prevalence of anemia during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number379
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 29 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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