Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention
Across the Sahel region falciparum malaria is a major cause of childhood death. Most of the malaria mortality and morbidity occurs in short rainy season. Giving effective malaria chemoprevention during this period has been shown to prevent illness and death from malaria in children.
Seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) previously referred to as Intermittent preventive treatment in children (IPTc) is defined as the intermittent administration of full treatment courses of an antimalarial medicine during the malaria season to prevent malarial illness with the objective of maintaining therapeutic antimalarial drug concentrations in the blood throughout the period of greatest malarial risk.
A group of researchers who have worked on SMC established a task force (IPTc Working Group) to collate and summarize data on the efficacy, safety, tolerability, acceptability and affordability of SMC.
As a first step in the policy making process of the Global Malaria Programme (GMP), the Technical Expert Group (TEG) on Preventive Chemotherapy was convened to review the evidence compiled by the IPTc Working Group. The objective was to formulate recommendations which will be presented to the newly established Policy Advisory Committee of the Department in order to formulate a WHO policy on the role of SMC as a potential in malaria control strategy for children.
The specific objectives of the consultation were:
- To review the current evidence on efficacy, safety and large-scale implementability of SMC, and assess the risks and potential benefits of SMC for use as an additional malaria control strategy in different malaria epidemiological settings.
- Based on this assessment, to advise WHO on the potential role of SMC as a malaria control strategy.
- To identify the critical gaps in knowledge and priority research agendas for the implementation of SMC as a WHO malaria control strategy if recommended.