WHO Policy recommendation on intermittent preventive treatment during infancy with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTi-SP) for Plasmodium falciparum malaria control in Africa
Malaria remains a leading cause of ill health, causing an estimated 243 million cases of clinical malaria and 863 thousand deaths. More than 85% of malaria cases and 90% of malaria deaths occur in Africa, south of Sahara. In Africa, the vast majority of cases and deaths occur in young children.
Key interventions currently recommended by WHO for the control of malaria are the use of insecticidal treated nets (ITNs) or indoor residual spraying (IRS) for vector control, and prompt access to diagnosis and treatment of clinical malaria. Intermittent Preventive Treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) is also recommended for pregnant women – a high-risk group in areas of high malaria transmission.
WHO is now recommending a new intervention against Plasmodium falciparum malaria: Intermittent Preventive Treatment for infants (IPTi) with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTi-SP) is the administration of a full therapeutic course of SP delivered through the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) at defined intervals corresponding to routine vaccination schedules – usually at 10 weeks, 14 weeks, and ~9 months of age – to infants at risk of malaria.