WHO policy recommendation: Seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) for Plasmodium falciparum malaria control in highly seasonal transmission areas of the Sahel sub-region in Africa

March 2012

World Health Organization


Across the Sahel sub-region most childhood malaria mortality and morbidity occurs during the rainy season, which is generally short. Giving effective malaria treatment at intervals during this period has been shown to prevent illness and death from malaria in children.

Key interventions currently recommended by WHO for the control of malaria are the use of insecticide treated nets (ITNs) and/or indoor residual spraying (IRS) for vector control, and prompt access to diagnostic testing of suspected malaria and treatment of confirmed cases. Additional interventions which are recommended in areas of high transmission for specific high risk groups include Intermittent Preventive Treatment in pregnancy (IPTp), and Intermittent Preventive Treatment in infancy (IPTi).

With the changing epidemiology of malaria, there is a progressive paradigm shift from a “one size fits all” approach, to the targeting of malaria control strategies to specific populations and/or locations for maximal effectiveness. In keeping with this approach, WHO is now recommending a new intervention against Plasmodium falciparum malaria: seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC). This intervention has been shown to be effective, cost-effective, safe, and feasible for the prevention of malaria among children less than 5 years of age in areas with highly seasonal malaria transmission.

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