Gestational Malaria and Living Conditions in Turbo, Colombia

Jaime Carmona-Fonseca, María Mercedes Arias V., Adriana Correa B, Maritza Lemos C.


Background: The study of gestational malaria has focused on biomedical aspects and ignored social aspects.

Objectives: To describe the socio-economic characteristics of families with and without gestational malaria in Turbo (Antioquia, Colombia).

Methodology: Descriptive study using socio-economic surveys in a random sample of 84 mothers/families.

Results: There was no statistically significant differences between pregnant women with and without gestational malaria in terms of the characteristics examined. The mothers were between ages 23 ±5 years, 64% of peasant origin, 14% illiterate, 61% educated to primary school level, 17% with knowledge of a particular trade. Among the 23 % of mothers doing paid work it was marginal work in all cases; 63% were direct operators and 37% were administrators/managers; average monthly income 166,000 pesos (USD $83). Spouses/partners worked as follows: 52% miscellaneous occupations, 17% in farming; average monthly income 320,000 pesos (USD $160). Complete nuclear families were found in 77% of cases and averaged 5.4 members each. Housing: 63% family owned; 2.5 sleepers/room; 2.5 sleepers/mosquito net. There was no anti-mosquito activity in 62% of families. Drinking/cooking water: 76% use rainfall as sole or combined source. Connection to sewage system: 59%. Home environment: 71% with vegetation and flowing/stagnant water. Waste: 26% dumped on the ground/in the water.

Conclusions: The living conditions of these families are less than satisfactory. Mothers are financially dependent (80%) and those with paid employment (20%) work in marginal activities. The home environment and families’ antimalarial practices strongly favor the presence of malaria.

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Department of Family and Social Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center
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