The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Omar Sey has stated that the Seasonal Malaria Chemotherapy (SMC) project will effectively prevent and control malaria existence in The Gambia. He said that early diagnosis and prompt treatment using effective anti-malarial as well as universal access to the use of long lasting insecticide treated nets would also prevent the disease.
Minister Sey added that this project will further enhance the intervention, and prevention as well as control malaria existence as encapsulated in the 2014-2020 malaria policy and strategic plan.
“The Malaria Consortium, CRS (as the lead sub-recipient) worked with the National Malaria Control Programmes (NMCP) in Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and The Gambia on a joint proposal to address public health and market issues around SMC,” he said, adding that this project will target the seven aforementioned countries in West and Central Africa.
He finally called on all the regional governors and their Technical Advisory Committees to join the Ministry of Health and its partners in ensuring a successful SMC campaign.
Balla Kandeh, the NMCP Programme Manager said the SMC is recommended by the World Health Organisation for the control of malaria. He added that other interventions recommended for specific high-risk group in areas of high transmission include intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy and infancy, noting that some interventions have been shown to be effective, cost-effective, safe and feasible for preventing malaria among children under five years of age in areas with highly seasonal malaria transmission.
According to him, the SMC is recommended in areas of highly seasonal malaria transmission throughout the Sahel sub-region, adding that a complete treatment course of sulfadaxine-pyrimethamine (sp) plus amodiaquine (aq) should be given to children aged 3-59 months at monthly intervals, beginning at the start of the transmission season, up to a maximum of four doses during the malaria transmission season.
Cherno Barra Touray, the Deputy Governor of URR, said the SMC project with other malaria control strategies will no doubt reduce the incidences of malaria especially in children under the age of five years. He also emphasised the importance of preventive healthcare service delivery, while calling on individuals, NGOs, and philanthropists to give support to the government to consolidate the gains registered in the health sector.
by Arfang MS Camara