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BACKGROUND: Seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) has been shown to be highly efficacious against clinical malaria in areas where transmission is acutely seasonal. SMC targeting depends on a complex interplay of climate, malaria transmission and population distribution. In this study a spatial decision support framework was developed to identify health districts suitable for the targeting of SMC across seven Sahelian countries and northern states of Nigeria that are members of the Nouakchott Initiative. METHODS: A spatially explicit decision support framework that links information on seasonality, age-structured population, urbanization, malaria endemicity and the length of transmission season was developed to inform SMC targeting in health districts. Thresholds of seasonality, population and receptive risks were defined to delineate SMC suitable health districts and define the age range of children for targeting. Numbers of children were then computed for the period 2015-2020 in SMC districts. For 2015, this was combined with maps of length of malaria transmission seasons and WHO recommended treatment regimen to quantify the number of tablets required across the SMC health districts. RESULTS: A total of 597 Sahelian health districts were mapped, out of which 478 (80.1%) were considered suitable for SMC based on seasonality and endemicity thresholds. These districts had an estimated 119.8 million (85%) of the total population in 2015. In the six years from 2015-2020, it is estimated that a total of 158 million children 3m to <5 years, 121 million of whom were in rural areas, will need SMC to achieve universal coverage in the Sahel. If the upper age limit of SMC targeted children was increased to <10 years in low transmission districts, a total 177 million overall, of whom 135 million were rural children, will require chemoprevention in 2015-2020. In 2015 alone, an estimated 49-72 million SP tablets and 148-217 million AQ tablets will be needed to cover all or rural children respectively under the different scenarios of upper age limits. CONCLUSIONS: Our proposed framework provides a standardised approach to support targeting and scale up of SMC by the countries of the Nouakchott Initiative. Our analysis suggests that the vast majority of the population in this region are likely to benefit from SMC and substantial resources will be required to reach universal coverage each year.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Antimalarials, Chemoprevention, Child, Child, Preschool, Humans, Infant, Malaria, Nigeria, Risk, Seasons