CONFIRMED: Better treatment for malaria prevention in malnourished children
Due to the overlying malaria burden and malnutrition among children in Sub-Saharan Africa, a group of scientists from Tanzania and the USA has called for better treatment to optimize malaria prevention in malnourished populations.
"Better dosing regimens are needed to optimize malaria prevention in malnourished populations, but, importantly, malaria chemoprevention may reduce the burden of malnutrition in early childhood," urge the scientists.
This recommendation is given in a study recently published in the ASCPT journal on March 14, 2023. The scientists also suggest the use of an approach technically known as “chemoprevention” – which essentially involves the use of certain drugs or other substances to help lower a person's risk of developing malaria or keep it from coming back. The scientists believe the approach will help to reduce the burden of malnutrition in early childhood.
The study aimed to address the overlapping burden of malaria and malnutrition among children in Sub-Saharan Africa and also to assess the relationships between malaria, malnutrition and the efficacy of malaria chemoprevention.
Contributing authors to the publication is Ali Mohamed Ali from Ifakara Health Institute and Erika Wallender, Emma Hughes, Grant Dorsey, and Radojka Savic from the University of California, San Francisco, USA.
The scientists sought to investigate whether malnutrition is associated with an increased hazard of malaria and whether malaria is associated with decreased childhood growth. A total of 579 children were followed from 6 months to 3 years of age.
“We identified and quantified risk factors for malaria and malnutrition in a large cohort of 579 Ugandan children who were followed from 6 months to 3 years of age as part of two randomized controlled trials of three malaria chemoprevention regimens.”
After conducting the malaria chemoprevention trials, the scientists reveal that malnutrition severity is associated with an increased incidence of malaria even when effective malaria chemoprevention is administered. The trials were conducted in Tororo, Uganda, from June 2010 through September 2013.
Based on these findings, the scientist suggested “optimizing chemoprevention regimens for high-risk groups like malnourished young children” which would be essential to maximize the efficacy of other chemoprevention.
“Our findings indicate that improved malaria control in high transmission settings could improve overall health by reducing malnutrition, but that even when a child receives active malaria chemoprevention the risk of malaria is increased in malnourished children compared with nourished children. This indicates that further optimization of malaria chemoprevention is needed for malnourished children,” they noted.
>> Link to publication: https://doi.org/10.1002/psp4.12892