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Malar J. 2011 Jan 7;10:2. doi: 10.1186/1475-2875-10-2.

A trial of intermittent preventive treatment and home-based management of malaria in a rural area of The Gambia.

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  • 1Medical Research Council Laboratories, Banjul, The Gambia.



Individual malaria interventions provide only partial protection in most epidemiological situations. Thus, there is a need to investigate whether combining interventions provides added benefit in reducing mortality and morbidity from malaria. The potential benefits of combining IPT in children (IPTc) with home management of malaria (HMM) was investigated.


During the 2008 malaria transmission season, 1,277 children under five years of age resident in villages within the rural Farafenni demographic surveillance system (DSS) in North Bank Region, The Gambia were randomized to receive monthly IPTc with a single dose of sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine (SP) plus three doses of amodiaquine (AQ) or SP and AQ placebos given by village health workers (VHWs) on three occasions during the months of September, October and November, in a double-blind trial. Children in all study villages who developed an acute febrile illness suggestive of malaria were treated by VHWs who had been taught how to manage malaria with artemether-lumefantrine (Coartemâ„¢). The primary aims of the project were to determine whether IPTc added significant benefit to HMM and whether VHWs could effectively combine the delivery of both interventions.


The incidence of clinical attacks of malaria was very low in both study groups. The incidence rate of malaria in children who received IPTc was 0.44 clinical attacks per 1,000 child months at risk while that for control children was 1.32 per 1,000 child months at risk, a protective efficacy of 66% (95% CI -23% to 96%; p = 0.35). The mean (standard deviation) haemoglobin concentration at the end of the malaria transmission season was similar in the two treatment groups: 10.2 (1.6) g/dL in the IPTc group compared to 10.3 (1.5) g/dL in the placebo group. Coverage with IPTc was high, with 94% of children receiving all three treatments during the study period.


Due to the very low incidence of malaria, no firm conclusion can be drawn on the added benefit of IPTc in preventing clinical episodes of malaria among children who had access to HMM in The Gambia. However, the study showed that VHWs can successfully combine provision of HMM with provision of IPTc.

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