Malaria Consortium Targets Malaria Prevention in Africa

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SEATTLE — Approximately half the world’s population is at risk of contracting malaria. In 2016, 91 countries reported cases of malaria transmission. Malaria Consortium supports national malaria control programs in 11 countries across Africa and Southeast Asia.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of malaria cases increased to 216 million in 2016 and 445,000 cases resulted in death. Ninety percent of all malaria cases and 91 percent of all malaria deaths occurred in Africa.

Malaria Consortium is a nonprofit specializing in malaria prevention in Africa and Southeast Asia. The organization supports national malaria programs by distributing long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs), working with local healthcare facilities to improve treatment and monitoring regions with high drug resistance.

The organization has introduced Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) as a tool for malaria prevention in Africa. SMC is the distribution of antimalarial drugs (amodiaquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine) to all children under five in high-risk regions during the rainy season. The treatment can be taken monthly for a maximum of four months.

WHO estimates that 23.7 million children across Africa are eligible for SMC. WHO particularly recommends SMC as a preventative tactic in the Sahel sub-region of Africa.

Malaria Consortium first determines the quantity of antimalarial drugs needed by a country. Then, the organization advocates SMC to the national government and funds the purchase and disbursement of the drugs. Typically, community health workers trained by Malaria Consortium distribute the drug regimen to children either by door-to-door delivery or from a fixed point.

In Nigeria, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided $1.7 million to Malaria Consortium to research the most effective ways to introduce SMC. The researched methods were then used to distribute the antimalarial drugs. Between 2012 and 2014, Malaria Consortium trained more than 3,600 community health workers who provided 1.6 million treatments to 350,000 children.

Malaria Consortium’s estimated cost of delivering one four-month SMC treatment is $6.80. This amount encompasses drug administration and research costs.

In addition to introducing and supporting anti-malarial methods like LLINs and SMC, Malaria Consortium also monitors and surveilles malaria controls to determine which interventions are the most impactful. The innovative Beyond Garki project worked to pinpoint the most effective programs for malaria prevention in Africa.

The Beyond Garki project was funded by the U.K. government through the Programme Partnership Arrangement and ran between 2012 and 2014. The initiative, implemented at four sites in Ethiopia and Uganda, studied the epidemiology of malaria and aimed to identify successful prevention and treatment strategies that could be introduced in other locations.

Malaria Consortium continues to roll out innovative new initiatives to combat malaria. The organization introduced SMS messaging for community health workers in Cambodia for case identification. Migrant workers from regions where Malaria Consortium operates are now being surveilled in order to track potential movements of the disease.

– Katherine Parks

Photo: Flickr

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