Malaria Consortium is pleased to announce the publication of a global operational guidance document on implementing seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) in the context of COVID-19. The guide, which is available in English and French, has been published by Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership to End Malaria and endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The document provides operational guidance for countries to safely implement SMC during the COVID-19 pandemic, considering the importance of both lowering malaria-related morbidity and mortality, and also ensuring the safety of communities and health workers.
SMC is a highly effective intervention to prevent malaria in those most vulnerable to the disease's effects in areas where malaria transmission peaks during the rainy season. It involves administering monthly doses of antimalarial drugs to children aged 3-59 months across the Sahel region of Africa during peak malaria transmission season. Malaria Consortium’s SMC programme aims to reach over 11 million children in Burkina Faso, Chad and Nigeria this year. The COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented challenge for all countries implementing SMC, and there is high risk that, when health systems are overwhelmed, both direct COVID-19 mortality and indirect mortality from malaria and other preventable and treatable conditions will increase dramatically.
This new document was initially developed by Malaria Consortium’s SMC programme to guide COVID-19 contingency planning in areas where the organisation supports SMC delivery. It was expanded and refined by a steering committee comprising representatives from WHO, Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Malaria Consortium. Further invaluable feedback was received from a wide range of SMC stakeholders, including national malaria programmes and donors.
Visit our SMC page here.