The Savannah Regional health Directorate is expected to administered monthly doses of anti-malaria medicines to 131,251 children aged 3-59 months under the 2023 seasonal Malaria Chemo-preventive (SMC) during the peak of malaria in the Savannah Region.
The Regional Malaria Focal Person, Mr. Boamah Marcel disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting in Damongo.
He further disclosed that, to meet the estimated target, some 866 trained Community Health Volunteers and 250 supervisors have been engaged across the Region by the regional health Directorate to carryout this year’s SMC in 1,285 communities within the Savannah region.
SMC is a Malaria preventive intervention, previously termed as intermittent preventive treatment in children. SMC is an intermittent administration of full treatment courses of an antimalarial medicine during the malaria season to prevent malaria illness and deaths with the objective of maintaining therapeutic drug concentrations in the blood of eligible children throughout the period of greatest malaria risk.
Savannah Region which is one of the newly created regions in the country and a beneficiary of the seasonal malaria control programme has successfully implemented SMC for the past 3 years.
Mr. Serene Akpanya, the Deputy Director of health incharge of Administration in the Savannah Region on behalf of the Regional Director of health Service in an opening remark at a regional stakeholder’s engagement on Thursday 6th July, 2023 at the Unity Centre Conference Hall in Damongo stated that, malaria is a public health concern and SMC is one of the interventions geared towards reducing malaria incidence and case fatality among the implementing regions and therefore called for the support and commitment of stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of this year’s Seasonal malaria chemo-preventive campaign in the region.
Among the SMC campaign key messages delivered by the Regional Health Promotion Officer indicated that the SMC medicines are safe, free and given by mouth with clean water under the supervision of trained community health volunteers.
The medicine is to be dissolved in 20mls of water before given to the child, Eligible children need to eat before taking the SMC medicine, Caregivers with Children under 5years to continue to sleep under Insecticide Treated Net even after taking SMC medicines to prevent mosquito bites.
In her concluding remarks, she stated that Malaria is dangerous and a leading cause of illness and deaths among children under 5 years and so children 3months to 59months needs to complete the 4cycles of SMC anti-malaria medicine within 4months for a better protection against the killer malaria disease during the rainy season.
The first cycle is scheduled for 10th-14t July, 2023, 2nd cycle: 7th-11th August, 2023, 3rd cycle: 4th-18th September,2023 and 4th cycle: 2nd- 6th October, 2023.