Seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) was recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2012 to protect children from being infected in areas of high seasonal malaria in the Sahel region of Africa.1 However, in 2014, fewer than 5% (~3 million) of all eligible children benefitted from SMC.2
At this time, there was no child-friendly formulation available either, making administration a challenge. Infants and very young children are generally unable to swallow pills; as such, tablets needed to be crushed and mixed with water before administration, leading to possible under-dosing. Some tablets also had an unpleasant bitter taste, causing children to spit them out.
MMV’s partner Guilin Pharmaceutical has developed a child-friendly dispersible formulation for the oral administration of sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine and amodiaquine (SPAQ).
As part of the Unitaid-funded ACCESS-SMC project3 initiated in 2014, MMV has been contributing to efforts to overcome barriers to the scale-up of SMC. The project was completed in 2017, and MMV continues to support SMC scale-up in the Sahel region. MMV is working with manufacturers to increase the supply of child-friendly SMC medicines and is working towards the development of a new generation of drugs for this intervention.
More information in an interview with Dr Djermakoye Hadiza Jackou, Coordinator of the National Malaria Control Programme, Niger.
World Health Organization. WHO policy recommendation: Seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) for Plasmodium falciparum malaria control in highly seasonal transmission areas of the Sahel sub-region in Africa (2012)
The UNITAID-funded ACCESS SMC Consortium includes: the Malaria Consortium (prime recipient), Catholic Relief Services (joint lead), MMV, Management Sciences for Health, Speak Up Africa and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.