Maternal and Child Health

The effects of NTDs – particularly anemia - can have severe impacts on women and young children.

For the 40 million women of child-bearing age are infected with hookworm in the developing world, the infection can cause serious complications during pregnancy.  During childbirth, these women have a higher likelihood of experiencing complications and even death.  NTDs like trachoma and lymphatic filariasis can be accompanied by physical disabilities such as blindness or severe swelling of the arms, legs and other limbs, making it difficult for women to work or care for their families.

Hookworm in the mother can also lead to complications for newborns – including low birth weight, whichis an important risk factor for neonatal and infant mortality and morbidity.  A study in rural Vietnam showed that providing women with regular deworming and weekly iron-folic acid supplements before pregnancy could be associated with a reduced prevalence of low birth weight. 

NTDs like schistosomiasis can also cause undernutrition, physical growth limitations, cognitive delays, and poor performance in school for young children and adolescents.  Children with NTDs typically experience stunted growth and are smaller in stature throughout childhood. A study in Brazil showed that children infected with hookworm or multiple NTDs performed worse on tests of cognitive functions than their peers without these infections.

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