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Preliminary Results Of MSF Malaria Prevention Program Suggest Malaria Drugs Prevent Disease In Healthy Children

A large-scale malaria prevention program through which medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) gave intermittent doses of anti-malaria drugs to 175,000 children in Mali and Chad suggests that “widely distributing anti-malaria drugs to healthy children in African countries can significantly reduce the number of new cases of the disease,” VOA News reports. “The [program] was launched in July and will continue through next month, a period of high transmission for malaria,” the news service notes (9/24). “Preliminary results from the program, known as seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC), show that the number of cases of simple malaria dropped by 65 percent in the intervention area in Mali, and by up to 86 percent in Chad,” according to an MSF press release, which adds, “A significant decrease in cases of severe malaria has also been recorded.”

“The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended SMC in March 2012, based upon research carried out in African countries that experience high levels of seasonal malaria,” the press release states. “SMC consists of the intermittent provision of a full course anti-malaria treatment during peak malaria season,” it notes, adding, “The projects mark the first time that MSF has carried out a large-scale SMC program” (9/24). In an accompanying interview on the organization’s website, MSF Tropical Medicine Adviser Estrella Lasry “reflects on the different aspects and future prospects of this strategy” (9/24).

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