Anaemia in malaria control: a practical approach

Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 1997 Oct;91(7):713-8. doi: 10.1080/00034989760446.


Mortality from malarial anaemia and malarial infection in those who are already anaemic yet have some degree of compensation is now beginning to receive the attention it deserves. It is of particular concern in Africa and especially in young children and pregnant women. The asymptomatic parasitaemia remaining after poor response to full antimalarial treatment may lead to life-threatening anaemia; as drug-resistant strains of the malarial parasite proliferate this is becoming increasingly important. It is now possible to estimate haemoglobin levels, simply, cheaply, easily and safely, using a haemoglobin colour scale which is being developed by the World Health Organization. The potential and practical value of this scale in malaria-control programmes was demonstrated in a small, preliminary trial in 1995. Estimation of anaemia should become an additional parameter in the traditional malariometric survey. Haemoglobin concentrations should also be taken into consideration in the management of malaria patients at the primary-care level, particularly in deciding whether a patient should be referred to an appropriate treatment centre. The accurate prediction of clinical outcome of malaria and anaemia, and indication of the appropriate action (determined by a case-based reasoning device) should be possible in the near future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anemia / blood
  • Anemia / complications
  • Anemia / diagnosis*
  • Anemia / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Malaria / blood
  • Malaria / complications*
  • Malaria / therapy
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic / blood
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic / therapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Hemoglobins