24 July 2018

West Africa: Continuing the Fight to Shrink the Malaria Map in the Sahel

Another rainy season brings malaria preventive treatment to children

July 2018 marks the fourth year Malaria Consortium will provide preventive treatments to children under five to protect them from malaria during the rainy season. With seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC), one treatment per month has been found by case control studies to reduce malaria cases by as much as 89 percent. Some 60,000 deaths and 10 million cases of malaria have already been averted through a Malaria Consortium led UNITAID funded project in the region that ran from 2015 to 2017.

This year, through the Good Ventures Foundation, a philanthropic foundation whose mission is to help humanity thrive, and other funding streams, Malaria Consortium has set a target to reach over 4.3 million children with SMC in Burkina Faso, Chad and Nigeria. Burkina Faso was the first country to begin the campaign on 19 July with an official launch of the campaign in Dori, North East Burkina Faso. The event was presided over by Minister of Health Nicolas Medah and attended by Malaria Consortium's Country Director Johanna Stenstrom and Country Technical Coordinator Alain Toe, as well as representatives from WHO, Jhpiego, USAID, Iamgold and the Belgium Embassy. Five dignitaries from the Ministry of Health gave the first dose of SMC to children to symbolise the beginning of the campaign.

There are currently up to 28-34 million children living in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa who can benefit from this effective malaria prevention intervention, but many children will still miss out due to lack of funding and limited capacity to produce the over 100 million quality assured treatments needed to reach them all. Up to 11 million of the eligible children who will miss out live in Nigeria, the country with the highest malaria burden in the world.

More funding is the answer and further investments need to be made before countries can start refashioning control programmes towards malaria elimination. Malaria Consortium will continue to work with national governments and international donors to help secure additional resources so that more children can benefit from this highly effective approach to malaria prevention, both now and in the future.

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