Background: Intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) has recently been accepted as an important component of the malaria control strategy. Intermittent preventive treatment for children (IPTc) combined with timely treatment of malaria related febrile illness at home to reduce parasite prevalence and malaria morbidity in children aged between six and 60 months in a coastal community in Ghana. This paper reports persistence of reduced parasitaemia two years into the intervention. The baseline and year-one-evaluation findings were published earlier.
Objective: The main objective in the second year was to demonstrate whether the two interventions would further reduce parasite prevalence and malaria-related febrile illness in the study population.
Methods: This was an intervention study designed to compare baseline and evaluation findings without a control group. The study combined home-based delivery of intermittent preventive treatment for children (IPTc) aged 6 - 60 months and home treatment of suspected febrile malaria-related illness within 24 hours. All children aged 6-60 months received home-based delivery of intermittent preventive treatment using amodiaquine + artesunate, delivered at home by community assistants every four months (6 times in 24 months). Malaria parasite prevalence surveys were conducted before the first and after the third and sixth IPTc to the children. The evaluation surveys were done four months after the third and sixth IPTc was given.
Results: Parasite prevalence which reduced from 25% to 3.0% at year-one evaluation had reduced further from 3% to 1% at year-two-evaluation. At baseline, 13.8% of the children were febrile (axilary temperature of ≥ 37.5 °C) compared to 2.2% at year-one-evaluation while 2.1% were febrile at year-two-evaluation.
Conclusion: The year-two-evaluation result indicates that IPTc given three times in a year (every four months) combined with timely treatment of febrile malaria illness, is effective to reduce malaria parasite prevalence in children aged 6 to 60 months in the study community. This must give hope to malaria control programme managers in sub-Saharan Africa where the burden of the disease is most debilitating.