Malaria

Intermittent preventive treatment in infants (IPTi)

Intermittent preventive treatment in infants is a full therapeutic course of antimalarial medicine delivered to infants through routine immunization services, regardless of whether the child is infected with malaria. WHO recommends IPTi with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTi-SP) in areas with moderate to high malaria transmission in sub-Saharan Africa that have less than 50% prevalence of pfdhps 540 mutation in the P. falciparum parasite.

IPTi reduces clinical malaria, anaemia and severe malaria in the first year of life. Treatment is given three times during the first year of life at approximately 10 weeks, 14 weeks, and 9 months of age, corresponding to the routine vaccination schedule of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI).

By coordinating IPTi delivery with EPI, IPTi coverage can be rapidly increased and its impact strengthened. Administration is safe, simple, cost-effective and well accepted by health workers and communities. It has been confirmed that IPTi-SP has no negative effect on the protective efficacy of EPI vaccines.

IPTi is intended to complement ongoing malaria control activities such as prompt diagnosis of suspected malaria and treatment of confirmed cases with an artemisinin-based combination therapy, and vector control measures such as the use of long-lasting insecticidal nets and indoor residual spraying.

Among the approximately 780 million persons at risk of malaria in endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa, a large proportion of the 28 million infants born each year could benefit from this preventive therapy.

Last update: 6 March 2013

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