Living happily, protected from malaria: Tenin’s story
In 2012, the WHO recommended seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) to protect children aged 3 months to 5 years in areas of seasonal transmission of the disease in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa. The medicine used for SMC, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine plus amodiaquine (SPAQ) is administered once a month throughout the rainy season, and in clinical trials has demonstrated a 75% reduction in the incidence of all malaria.1
In 2018, 81 million monthly courses of SPAQ treatment were shipped during the SMC season – estimated to have provided protection for more than 20 million children. Tenin is one of those children. Read her story below.
Tenin Keita is 3 years old and lives with her family, including her baby brother Moussa, in the Dabola prefecture of the Faranah Region of Guinea. This region is plagued with malaria, especially during and just after the rainy season from July to October.
A healthcare worker prepares the child-friendly, dispersible medicines. Today, seasonal malaria chemoprevention is being rolled out to protect children like Tenin and her brother from malaria and the results are impressive.
This wasn’t always the case. The year before there had been many more cases of malaria in the village. “Yes, it’s changed,” explains Fatoumata, Tenin and Moussa's mother. “My neighbour’s daughter was really very ill last year. Now she’s ok. She’s been better since we got the medicines. The children don’t cry, it’s fine. They take them without any problem.”
SMC was provided to all eligible children in the Dabola prefecture, Guinea, for the first time in 2018. The director of the Dabola area hospital explained that there had been a 25% reduction in malaria-related hospital admissions compared to 2017– since the implementation of SMC.
As a practical illustration, he also noted there had been an important decrease in the demand for blood bags for transfusion, which he attributed to a decrease in the number of children with severe anaemia caused by malaria. This is definitely a cause for celebration.
1. 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.