Protecting children during the rainy season

Adam Aspinall, Director, Product Strategy & Management, MMV

In some parts of Africa, during the rainy season, more than 60% of malaria cases occur in just 4 months of the year. Around 39 million African children under 5 years of age live in these regions and an estimated 152,000 die from malaria each year.1

Initially, MMV was involved in the West Africa Roll Back Malaria SMC working group, which includes malaria-endemic country institutions, malaria-control programme managers and international partners. More recently, MMV has become part of the ACCESS-SMC consortium, which is supporting the implementation and scale-up of SMC in the Sahel region.

Adam Aspinall, Director, Product Strategy & Management explains the role of MMV and the implementing partners.

1. What is MMV’s role in the consortium?

In 2013, we began developing an SMC tool kit for countries interested in implementing this life-saving intervention. The tool kit is a training and communication aid. It assists people ‘at the sharp end’ with the implementation of SMC and has four sections: planning, training, monitoring and evaluation of results, and communicating the importance and implementation of SMC to people and health-care workers on the ground.

Today, we are participating in a major project funded by UNITAID and led by the Malaria Consortium and Catholic Relief Services to scale-up the intervention in the Sahel region. Our role is to make sure that a quality medicine is available, and that there is enough of it at the right time. First, we are working with Guilin Pharmaceutical to obtain WHO prequalification for both strengths of SP+AQ and develop a child-friendly formulation, which should significantly improve the ease of administering the treatment. Second, to secure the drug supply, we are identifying additional manufacturing capacity for prequalified SP+AQ.

2. What is the role of the implementing partners?

The implementation of SMC is a complicated logistical process. The implementing partners are working at the frontline to ensure the medicine is administered appropriately to the children that need it. They must work closely with national government partners to ensure that community-based delivery of monthly treatment can effectively be managed for up to 4 months in a row. They are also involved in quantifying the demand. It’s a critical role.

1. Cairns M et al. “Estimating the potential public health impact of seasonal malaria chemoprevention in African children.” Nat Commun. 3:881. (2012).