Largest grant yet for seasonal malaria chemoprevention
UNITAID has awarded up to $67 million to Malaria Consortium to oversee the largest-yet global programme to increase seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) across the Sahel region of Africa, where malaria remains the leading cause of severe illness and mortality in young children.
Malaria Consortium’s three year project, known as ACCESS SMC, will run across seven African countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea Conakry, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and The Gambia. ACCESS-SMC will be led by Malaria Consortium, with Catholic Relief Services as the primary sub-grantee. It will be supported by London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Management Sciences for Health, Medicines for Malaria Venture, Speak Up Africa and Centre de Support en Sante International.
SMC is the systematic use of anti-malarials during the rainy season to prevent malaria in children under the age of five, who are most at risk. The children are provided with anti-malaria treatments at monthly intervals during this high-risk period. This regular regime means that drug levels are maintained in the blood to prevent malaria throughout the season.
“We are delighted to receive such an important grant from UNITAID,” said Malaria Consortium Chief Executive Charles Nelson. “We have already been working in Katsina state in Nigeria, developing community systems to deliver SMC, and results after just one season are already very encouraging. Take up of the service by parents and carers has been huge and the local government health facilities have reported that they have seen far fewer fever cases than previously during the rainy season. Malaria Consortium is fully committed to scaling up this solution across Sahel countries and making it sustainable. This generous grant will go a long way to making this commitment a reality.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended SMC since 2012 as an effective tool in the fight against malaria for the 23.7 million children aged three to 59 months who live in areas subject to a seasonal surge in malaria incidence, and where resistance to recommended drugs is low. WHO estimates that SMC can prevent 75percent of cases, but in 2013, only three percent of eligible children received treatment. This grant will help increase capacity and reduce prices for SMC products in the seven target countries and is expected to supply an estimated 30 million treatments every year to protect 7.5 million children, preventing around 50,000 deaths.
For more information about the UNITAID award, please click here.
For more information about Malaria Consortium’s current SMC activities, please click here.