Seasonal malaria chemoprevention for children in the Sahel

A child in The Gambia receives antimalarial medication as part of the ACCESS-SMC project (Image: Malaria Consortium)

Preventing malaria cases in children under five years old in Africa's Sahel region.

Challenges

Some 25 million children under five in the Sahel need seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC), to protect them from malaria. In 2013, less than 4 percent of them were receiving it.
Most childhood deaths from malaria in the region occur during the rainy season. SMC treatment during this period has proven to prevent illness and death from malaria.

Solutions

The grant aims to deliver SMC treatment to up to 7 million children in hard-to-reach areas in seven countries of the Sahel.
It will generate evidence on the safety, impact and effective delivery of SMC at scale. The evidence will be used to encourage manufacturers to increase supplies of quality-assured drugs and to advocate for additional investment in order to reach all eligible children in the region.

“We’ve seen average reductions of 50% in the number of malaria cases in children under 5 because of SMC interventions across the Sahel. In other words, thanks to SMC, nearly 8 million children may have avoided malaria in 2016.”

Diego Moroso, Regional Project Director, ACCESS-SMC

Progress so far

In 2016, over 6 million children received at least one cycle of treatment compared to 3.2 million in 2015. SMC is a highly cost-effective intervention, with the cost per child reached ranging from US $3.48 to $6.58 for four courses of treatment per year.
Additionally, this project has facilitated the introduction of a dispersible drug, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine (SP+AQ), formulated optimally for children.

The impact we are seeking

SMC treatment has been proven to reduce malaria cases by up to 75 percent in clinical trials and by 50 percent on average during the life of the grant. At scale SMC could avert approximately 7.5 million malaria cases and 50,000 deaths every year. This could significantly reduce demand for treatment in communities and health facilities, improving school attendance, and generating savings for government expenditure on malaria.



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