The first treatment cycle of the 2020 seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) campaign is underway and Malaria Consortium is on course to reach 12 million children in Burkina Faso, Chad and Nigeria.
The life-saving intervention is WHO-recommended, designed to provide protection from malaria to those most at risk during the rainy season: children under five. The intervention is a combination of two safe and effective drugs, amodiaquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, given to each child once a month for four months, from July to October.
The campaign is delivered by community distributors, trained and facilitated by Malaria Consortium, who travel to each household to administer the antimalarial medicines. They also sensititise communities about malaria prevention and refer sick children to local health facilities. The delivery period of each cycle takes place over three to four days.
Malaria Consortium's West and Central Africa Programme Director, Maxwell Kolawole reflects on the additional challenge of COVID-19 to ensuring the successful delivery of the organisation's biggest ever campaign.
"We had to come up with strategies to advocate for continuation of essential malaria services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with international guidelines for COVID-19 control, Malaria Consortium invested heavily in the provision of training and items to minimise risk for over 100,000 personnel involved in the campaign, for example face masks and hand sanitiser and training for over 100,000 personnel involved in the intervention. As of today, over 11 million children have received SMC as planned with the full support and ownership by the Governments of those countries. By the end of the month all 12 million children will have been reached. With this feat, Malaria Consortium has proved itself as an agile and effective contributor in combating diseases and promoting child health in Africa."
Malaria Consortium has been delivering SMC campaigns in the Sahel since 2013, working closely with national malaria programmes, as well as state, regional and district health authorities in each country to organise and coordinate the campaign. This year's campaign began in Nigeria on 9 July, in Burkina Faso on 13 July and will begin in Chad on 27 July.
The programme is implemented with the support of UK aid, the Global Fund to Fight AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and USAID's President's Malaria Initiative, but it is predominantly funded by philanthropic donations. The intervention has been top-rated by independent charity assessor GiveWell, which analyses the amount of good achieved by an organisation per dollar spent.
Find out more about how Malaria Consortium is adapting and innovating during COVID-19 through our COVID-19 hub.
Find out more about our work on SMC.