Burkina Faso

Despite an increase in government funding and a wider expansion of healthcare interventions in the country, Burkina Faso continues to face health challenges, particularly in the form of communicable diseases. Malaria is highly endemic in Burkina Faso and highly seasonal; most malaria cases and deaths in under-fives occur during the rainy season, and the country accounts for four percent of malaria deaths worldwide. We work closely with the Ministry of Health in addressing this through our seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) programmeThe success of SMC in Burkina Faso has enabled us to explore additional opportunities to support some of the country's most pressing health needs.  

SMC programme 

Malaria Consortium has been a leading implementer of SMC since WHO issued its recommendation to scale up this intervention in 2012. Following the end of the ACCESS-SMC project in 2017, we have continued to support national malaria programmes in Burkina Faso, Chad, Nigeria and Togo to deliver SMC. In 2021, our programme aims to reach more than 20 million children. We are also conducting research exploring the feasibility, acceptability, and impact of SMC outside of the Sahel in Mozambique and Uganda.

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ACCESS-SMC was a UNITAID-funded project, led by Malaria Consortium in 2014-2017, in partnership with Catholic Relief Services, to support the National Malaria Control Program in scaling up access to seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) to save children’s lives across seven countries in the Sahel.

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Malaria Consortium in Burkina Faso 

Malaria Consortium established an office in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, in December 2014 as part of the ACCESS-SMC project and have continued to deliver seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) projects in the country since then. In 2021, Malaria Consortium supported SMC in 27 health districts across six regions of Burkina Faso, to reach approximately 1.9 million children under five.

We work with government and implementing partners to plan campaigns, increase community engagement, distribute antimalarials and undertake operational research to provide technical advice and the necessary evidence for the Ministry of Health and other partners to make informed decisions about adaptation and innovation in SMC at regional and national levels. We have also begun to explore the potential of digital solutions to strengthen health systems in the country.

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Area of focus 

Seasonal malaria chemoprevention

Malaria is highly seasonal in Burkina Faso, with an estimated 60 percent of malaria cases occurring between July and November. SMC is one method that prevents malaria in children from 3 to 59 months (who are the most at risk of contracting the disease) during the rainy season. SMC is typically administered in four cycles each year between July and October across the Sahel region in concurrence with the rainy season and the period of peak transmission. However, in the south and south-west of Burkina Faso, the rainy season can start as early as June. Consequently, malaria incidence among children can be high even before implementation of the first SMC cycle.

In response to this emerging observation, in 2019 we undertook operational research to assess if extending SMC to five cycles, with cycle one beginning in June, would be feasible and acceptable. This study was conducted in collaboration with the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP). Together with a stratification exercise conducted through the High Burden to High Impact initiative, it informed their decision to conduct five cycles in specific regions, including the Cascades, as of 2021.