Campaigning for seasonal malaria chemoprevention in Guinea, Mali, Niger and The Gambia
ACCESS-SMC has been supporting National Malaria Control Programs (NMCPs) in the Sahel since 2014, annually providing seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) for millions of children. Speak Up Africa, one of the implementing partners in the project, have been implementing social and behavioral change communication strategies in The Gambia, Guinea, Mali and Niger. They aimed to raise awareness about malaria and SMC to maximize ownership of the intervention by targeted populations and ultimately reduce malaria morbidity and mortality rates in the project areas. Out of the multiple communication strategies used, mass communication and interpersonal communication were favored and had greater impacts at a national and community level. Implementing these communication campaigns gave us the opportunity to highlight how much the project countries were able to mobilize, in terms of human and financial resources, to carry out high-impact interventions like the SMC.
In Guinea, the disease is a serious public health problem. Health facilities reported malaria as the leading cause of hospitalizations and deaths in all age groups. To decrease public expenses on malaria, improve child health and reduce the incidence of malaria ACCESS-SMC rolled out SMC in eight districts- Gaoul, Koundara, Mali, Koubia, Tougué, Dinguiraye, Siguiri and Mandiana- in 2015 and 2016. The 4,011 health workers and community actors who were taught about SMC and interpersonal communication used the door-to-door strategy and reached approximately 639,827 children. These children benefited from the protection SMC provided against malaria. The effectiveness of the SMC is not to be questioned; testimonies from the communities speak for themselves.
Click here to watch a film about SMC in Guinea.
In Niger, malaria is the leading cause of death and morbidity among children and counts for 80 percent of medical consultations during the rainy season. There were 2,065,340 confirmed cases of malaria in 2015, and children under the age of five years old accounted for 64 percent of those cases and 2,582 deaths. The districts of Magaria, Bouza and Kéita were the first to benefit from the implementation of SMC in 2012 during a pilot study. When ACCESS-SMC began SMC was extended to 11 districts for the 2015 and 2016 campaigns- Bouza, Madaoua, Mayahi, Maradi, Aguié, Mirriah, Matameye, Gaya, Guidam Roumji and Madarounfa. 11,960 community health workers provided the delivery of SMC to 1,475,391 children. The targeted populations are convinced of the effectiveness of the SMC because they can see with their own eyes its benefits.
Click here to watch a film about SMC in Niger.
In Mali, where 40 percent of medical consultations at public facilities were for malaria, there were 2,369,245 cases of malaria and 1,978 deaths recorded in 2015. ACCESS-SMC implemented SMC to prevent malaria in children under five during the peak transmission period to stop this scourge. During the 2015 and 2016 SMC campaigns 938 community health workers, trained in the fundamentals of SMC and interpersonal communication, covered 20 districts, reaching 1,996,487 children. Thanks to ACCESS-SMC caregivers were satisfied and their concerns for the safety of their children diminished during the peak transmission season.
Click here to watch a film about SMC in Mali.
In The Gambia, malaria is one of the first causes of consultations during the rainy season. The consequences of malaria are numerous and the disease has a heavy impact on the country’s economic growth. In 2015 and 2016, the ACCESS-SMC project joined forces with the National Malaria Control Program to ensure the implementation of SMC in two regions (18 districts). In The Gambia, 742 community health workers, trained on SMC fundamentals and interpersonal communication, used a door-to-door strategy to deliver the treatment. The project allowed 164,161 children in The Gambia to be protected from malaria during peak transmission season.
Click here to watch a film about SMC in The Gambia.