This year marks the end of SMC implementation in seven countries across the Sahel through the ACCESS-SMC project, funded by UNITAID. During the past two years Mme Zara Al-Fail, head of a health facility in Mailao, has witnessed first hand the impact the scale up of SMC has had. To mark this occasion and give our readers a different perspective, we sat down with midwife Zara Al-Fadil to interview her on her thoughts about SMC.
ACCESS-SMC: Where do you work?
Mme Al-Fadil: Health Centre in Mailao.
ACCESS-SMC: How long have you worked here?
Mme Al-Fadil: Two years.
ACCESS-SMC: What do your patients tell you about SMC?
Mme Al-Fadil: The acceptability is very high. Community members want it. Almost nobody refuses it, and when someone refuses it and I explain what SMC is and what it does, they accept it. People only refuse when they do not understand what SMC is.
ACCESS-SMC: Do you get many referrals during SMC cycles?
Mme Al-Fadil: We get very few referrals, and very few suspected Adverse Events and malaria cases.
ACCESS-SMC: You have experience of SMC with hard tablets (2015) and with dispersible (2016) – is there a difference do you think?
Mme Al-Fadil: There is a big difference. Dispersible is so much easier to administer, it is much faster and the children do not vomit.
ACCESS-SMC: Do you see a difference in cases at your health facility?
Mme Al-Fadil: Yes, I see a big difference. We have smaller numbers of children with malaria. We also have smaller number of children with minor adverse events this year with dispersible – 12 cases compared to 40 in 2015.
ACCESS-SMC: What do you want to see for the future?
Mme Al-Fadil: I want SMC to continue, but please revise the age of eligibility so that we can protect children up to 10 as well. I would also like to have one glass, or container per child, and not one to share for the whole village.