Across the Sahel and sub-Sahel regions of Africa, deaths and severe illness caused by malaria occur mainly in young children during the rainy season, which generally lasts four to five months. Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) can provide children with a high level of protection. The Opt-SMC project aims to optimize the delivery and effectiveness of SMC.
In 2019, SMC programmes reached 22 million children.
However, many of these children do not receive the full number of monthly treatments that are needed to protect them throughout the high-risk period, and there remain an estimated 13 million children who are eligible for SMC and could benefit but live in areas which do not have SMC programmes.
The urgent need to close this gap and to optimize SMC delivery to protect all eligible children was discussed in a technical consultation organized by WHO’s Global Malaria Programme and TDR (the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases).
The OPT-SMC project aims to contribute to this goal by strengthening capacity of national programmes to conduct implementation research, to adapt SMC to the local context, and to improve its delivery and impact.