SMC Symposium: Transforming the malaria landscape in the Sahel with seasonal malaria chemoprevention
June 8-10th 2016
For the 25 million children who live across Africa’s Sahel region, the rainy season produces a seasonal surge in sickness and death from malaria. The World Health Organization recommends seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) as an effective tool to prevent malaria in children under five, but in 2014 only about 800,000 children received this preventive treatment.
Achieving Catalytic Expansion of Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention in the Sahel (ACCESS-SMC) is the first project of its kind promoting the scale-up of SMC across the Sahel. Thanks to ACCESS-SMC, a UNITAID-funded project led by Malaria Consortium in partnership with Catholic Relief Services, more than 3.2 million vulnerable children across seven countries in the Sahel received this lifesaving treatment in 2015. In 2016, 30 million treatments will be provided to the target countries, reaching more than 6.4 million eligible children.
The first season of mass drug distributions was completed in November 2015. Using the momentum and lessons learnt from the 2015 SMC campaign, the seven ACCESS-SMC supported countries are now planning for the implementation of the 2016 campaign, working to guarantee support from relevant stakeholders and ensure timely distribution of drugs.
ACCESS-SMC's goal is not only to prevent malaria among children under the age of five for the duration of the project, but to mobilize donors and host governments to commit to sustaining and scaling up SMC to ensure that the 25 million eligible children receive this treatment.
Event and Objectives
On June 9th, Malaria Consortium hosted an SMC symposium in order to summarize the progress in expanding SMC since 2014, showcasing the results of the ACCESS-SMC project and sharing main lessons learnt from the first at scale SMC implementation in 2015. Furthermore, this event provided the opportunity to discuss the SMC trends for 2016 and beyond. It addressed specific research questions that are being raised by ACCESS-SMC, most notably those related to the feasibility of the intervention at scale, the impact of an SMC intervention on public health, concerns about drug safety and impact on resistance, and assumptions on cost drivers and sustainability.
This event placed SMC within a broader discussion about health system strengthening and health investments, using public health arguments to highlight the potential of SMC in reducing the cost to health care delivery and more broadly to society as a whole, as a consequence of the large reduction in malaria-related morbidity.
Finally, participants examined further opportunities for SMC in terms of innovative delivery and scope, as well as the possibilities of integration with other public health interventions.
This event hosted people from various sectors, most notably NGOs, multilateral donors and agencies, academic institutions, private companies and foundations, as well as the public sector including Ministry of Health representatives from supported countries.
Click here to view photos of the symposium.
Click here to find the presentations made at the symposium.
 Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea-Conakry, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and The Gambia.
Didn't make it to the symposium? Read the post event report here