Malaria Consortium’s seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) programme is mostly funded by philanthropic donors. Their generous support enables us to provide life-saving antimalarial medication to millions of children across the Sahel region during the rainy season – when malaria transmission is at its peak – each year.
In 2019, Malaria Consortium is aiming to reach six million children between three and 59 months in Burkina Faso, Chad and Nigeria. One of the reasons why our SMC programme receives funding from philanthropists is that Malaria Consortium has been rated the number one Top Charity by GiveWell, an American nonprofit organisation dedicated to finding high-impact giving opportunities.
A delegation from GiveWell recently visited our SMC programme in Burkina Faso to see first-hand how the project is working. The visit included meetings with the Malaria Consortium team, the Ministry of Health’s National Malaria Control Programme and the National Medical Store, where medicines used in SMC are stored before and between distribution cycles.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the visit was observing the SMC programme in action. The GiveWell team shadowed community SMC distributors as they went door-to-door to identify eligible children, educate caregivers about the benefits of SMC and administer the first dose of the antimalarial medicine. The team also met the health workers who supervise the community distributors and the district health staff who organise SMC distribution in their local area.
Meeting the people who deliver SMC, and those who benefit from it, provided the visitors with an opportunity to experience the scale of the programme and understand the difference the intervention can make in people’s lives. It was also an opportunity to appreciate the many challenges those who are implementing the intervention tackle with immense dedication, such as torrential rain, rapid urbanisation and babies who are reluctant to take the medicine.
Olivia Larsen, Research Analyst at GiveWell, summed up how the visit to Burkina Faso had shaped her view of Malaria Consortium’s SMC programme: “In my role at GiveWell, I speak with donors almost daily to describe this programme and why we think it is effective. I know the research back-to-front and understand the impact each dollar can have when directed to Malaria Consortium. But seeing the programme being implemented made it more tangible. This made me feel like I had a closer connection to people on the other side of GiveWell’s analysis – people going about their daily lives, pausing briefly to receive a simple spoonful of medication that may prevent them from getting very sick.”
To find out more about our SMC programme, and to donate, click here.