Implementation of a third season of SMC is about to start in Burkina Faso, Chad and Nigeria
After bringing together leading players in malaria prevention to deliver seasonal malaria chemoprevention in 2016 to over 6.4 million children, Malaria Consortium will support one last season under the ACCESS-SMC project.
This year, more than 15 million SMC treatments will be distributed to approximately 3.9M children under five living in Burkina Faso, Chad and Nigeria to protect them from malaria when they are most at risk, during the rainy season. Distributions will begin next month in all three countries and continue until late October.
Below is the target number of children to receive SMC treatments under the ACCESS-SMC project, with support from Malaria Consortium, for 2017.
The dispersible SMC drugs, used for the first time during the 2016 campaign, will again be used this year. Only a small amount of water is required, administration takes less than 30 seconds, and the bitter taste of amodiaquine has been successfully masked with a slightly sweet, orange flavor. This is a significant improvement from the first campaign in 2015, where the process took up to five minutes because the extremely hard amodiaquine tablets had to be crushed, then mixed with water and sugar to mask the bitter taste.
When a child gets malaria, parents may lose time attending to their daily occupation, which affects income. Even if treatment is accessible, transportation and, in some cases, treatment may come at a significant cost. Though deaths from malaria have reduced by 60 percent over the last 15 years, this disease remains one of the leading causes of death in children under five in sub-Saharan Africa.
The other four ACCESS-SMC countries are also continuing SMC programs under a new funding framework supported by the Global Fund. Other donors, such as the World Bank and PMI, are contributing to sustain the scale-up as well. Despite the high coverage achieved through the ACCESS-SMC project, many children will still miss out on receiving SMC in 2017 due to lack of funding and production capacity for quality assured medicines used in SMC (SP+AQ). With children in sub-Saharan Africa 14 times more likely to die before the age of five than those living elsewhere in the world, it is time to do more. Malaria can be prevented. In the Sahel, SMC can help prevent it.