The Segala health center in Western Mali is in a health zone with a high incidence of severe childhood malaria. To reduce malaria in the estimated 4,781 children between three months and five years, USAID funded the Service de Santé à Grand Impact (SSGI) project, which provided technical and financial support for a seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) campaign. For four months coinciding with the rainy season and peak malaria transmission period, 28 health workers and two supervisors distributed preventative medication for children under five. They reached 100% of children in July, 105% in August, 96% in September, and 115% in October.
Thanks to the SMC campaign, Dr. Issa Keita, Technical Director of the health center, saw a reduction in severe malaria cases in children under five. “Before the SMC strategy, there was a death due to malaria nearly every day in the month of October… the SMC campaign with the technical and financial support of the SSGI project enabled us to overcome this challenge.” He explained that “[d]uring the first three weeks of October 2018, we recorded no cases of severe malaria in children 3 to 59 months.”
A local father was also satisfied “I have two children under five years old. Before SMC, I brought my children to the health center at least three times during the rainy seasons for malaria treatments…[b]ut now, each month I give them the correct malaria medicine and they sleep under mosquito nets nightly … SMC brings such a big relief to parents. I have encouraged other parents to accept SMC and they have expressed their satisfaction too.”
The WHO recommends SMC to reduce early childhood malaria. The SSGI project supports a national program to implement SMC campaigns for children aged 3-59 months in 12 Mali districts and is piloting SMC among children 5-10 years. In total, an estimated 641,010 children will receive preventative medication.
Source: Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention Campaign Reduces Severe Malaria in Young Children in Kayes, USAID.