Medicines to protect children from seasonal malaria: what are the options?

27 Sep 2016

André-Marie Tchouatieu

Africa Health

André-Marie Tchouatieu discusses the progress made to ensure appropriate medicines are available for SMC today and in the future

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

Most of these young children live in the Sahel and sub-Sahel region, where the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine (SP+AQ) for those aged between three and six years in areas of high seasonal malaria transmission, in which SP+AQ remain effective.2

SMC relies on the intermittent dosing of an antimalarial drug during the malaria season to protect children, by maintaining therapeutic drug concentrations in the blood throughout the period of greatest risk.

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  1. Cairns M, et al. Estimating the potential public health impact of seasonal malaria chemoprevention in African children. Nat Commun 2012; 3: 881.
  2. World Health Organization. ‘Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention’ (Last update: 7 August 2013)