Malaria Consortium, a nonprofit organisation specialised in malaria prevention, has launched a sessional Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) in three African countries.
The campaign is targeted to cover over 5.5 million children under five years of age in these three countries, protecting them from malaria throughout the rainy season.
In a press statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday, the organisation said it would distribute preventive antimalarial medication to more than 5.5 million children under five years of age in Burkina Faso, Chad, and Nigeria, over the next four months.
The antimalarial medication is expected to protect them from malaria throughout the rainy season.
Approximately half of the world population is at risk of contracting malaria.
Unfortunately, the World Health Organisation (WHO), said 90 per cent of all malaria cases and 91 per cent of all malaria deaths occur in Africa.
Also, about 25 per cent of the global burden of the disease is in Nigeria.
Malaria Consortium’s activities span 11 countries across Africa and Southeast Asia.
The organisation supports national malaria programs by distributing long-lasting insecticides nets, working with local healthcare facilities to improve treatment and monitor regions with high malaria drug resistance.
It introduced seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC), a tool for malaria prevention in Africa. SMC is the distribution of antimalarial drugs (amodiaquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine) to all children under five in high-risk regions during the rainy season.
The treatment can be taken monthly, for a maximum of four months.
WHO estimates that 23.7 million children across Africa are eligible for SMC. WHO particularly recommends SMC as a preventative tactic in the Sahel sub-region of Africa.
The NGO said the seasonal malaria chemoprevention campaign has begun across three countries in the Sahel region of Africa.
It said the campaigns involves giving each child a combination of two safe and effective drugs, amodiaquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, once a month for four months, from July to October.
“This is the time of year when most malaria illness and deaths occur across the Sahel sub-region,” it said.
Malaria Consortium has been delivering SMC campaigns in the Sahel since 2013.
The programme director, Christian Rassi, said they are glad the SMC campaign has begun in the three countries.
“We have spent the past few weeks training drug distributors and their supervisors, and ensuring that the drugs required have reached their destinations. Now, our work can begin in earnest, as we seek to protect millions of vulnerable children from malaria this rainy season,” he said.
The organisation works closely with National Malaria Control Programmes, as well as state, regional and district health authorities in each country to organise and coordinate the campaigns.
This year’s campaign began in Burkina Faso on July 22 and in Chad and Nigeria on July 25.
The programme is implemented with the support of UK aid, the Global Fund and USAID’s president’s Malaria Initiative, but it is predominantly funded by philanthropic and individual donations.