The goal of the national Malaria control programme in Mali is to reduce malaria related morbidity and mortality by 80% by 2015 from 2005 rates, by ensuring: universal coverage of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINs) and prompt diagnosis and treatment of malaria; and by developing community-based interventions to bring prevention, diagnosis and treatment closer to the household. The Ministry of Education’s recently approved national school health policy aims to create a health system in schools which promotes school children’s health. Although both policies include opportunities for integrating malaria control in schools and a focus on school age children, until today, there has been insufficient evidence to inform specific strategies and interventions for schools in Mali.
This paper presents research funded through Save the Children’s Child Sponsorship resources with additional support from the Wellcome Trust. It contributes to the evidence base needed to advance malaria control in schools in Mali.
Some key messages include:
• School age children is the population group most likely to be infected with malaria
• 80% of school age children in Sikasso are infected with malaria
• Most cases are asymptomatic and therefore never get treated
• Malaria causes anemia which reduces children’s capacity to concentrate and learn