53 million children living in 18 countries covered with Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention in 2023

05 Apr 2024

The SMC Alliance, a consortium of countries and organisations involved in the implementation of seasonal malaria chemoprevention, met in Abuja, Nigeria, at the end of February 2024 to review results from the 2023 SMC campaigns and to share successes and lessons learnt.

At the meeting, it was announced that 53 million children were covered by SMC in 2023. The largest number of children were reached in Nigeria, with about 28.7 million children treated per cycle of SMC. Cumulatively 1,078 million treatments delivered since 2012.

Madagascar and La Cote d’Ivoire joined 16 other countries and implemented SMC for the first time in 2023. Mozambique scaled up the implementation of SMC by 12-fold with 1.3 million children being reached in 2022 versus 0.1 million children in 2021.

According to the 2023 World Malaria Report, 608,000 people tragically died from malaria in the previous yearand an estimated 249 million malaria cases in 85 malaria endemic countries were recorded. Twenty-nine countries, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa, accounted for 95% of malaria cases globally.

Children continue to bear the greatest brunt of malaria deaths. Three in every four malaria deaths occur in children and this proportion has not changed since 2015.

The stalling burden of malaria shows that more effort must be devoted to scale up SMC in countries where there is still room for scale up. Research must also be continued to optimize the implementation of SMC in implementing countries.

The important impacts of climate change on malaria control and elimination were also highlighted by the 2023 World Malaria Report. Climate change can significantly impact the implementation of SMC as the intervention is seasonal, taking place during the rainy season when malaria transmission is highest. Climatic shifts in rainfall patterns could therefore shift the transmission season and coverage areas. Ongoing monitoring is needed to observe malaria transmission seasons and areas for adequate implementation of SMC.