• Combining Malaria and NTD Mass Treatment in Schools Pilot Study of the Addition of Mass Treatment for Malaria to Existing School-Based Programs to Treat Neglected Tropical Diseases

      Cohee, Lauren M.; Chilombe, Moses; Ngwira, Andrew; Jemu, Samuel K.; Mathanga, Don P.; Laufer, Miriam K. (2018)
      Malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminths, threaten the health of school aged in sub-Saharan Africa. Established school-based mass drug administration (MDA) programs are used to control NTDs. Recent clinical trials have shown benefit of mass treatment of malaria in schools. The potential of adding malaria treatment to existing NTD programs has not been thoroughly evaluated. We offered malaria treatment with artemether-lumefantrine during routine NTD MDA and developed peer education programs in two primary schools in southern Malawi. We assessed participation, safety, and tolerability of coadministration of artemether-lumefantrine with praziquantel and albendazole. Results were compared with two schools conducting standard NTD MDA with additional monitoring by study staff. A total of 3,387 students (68%) received the standard NTD MDA. Among parents who came to schools on the day of the MDA, malaria treatment was well accepted; 87% of students who received the standard NTD MDA in intervention schools also consented for treatment with artemether-lumefantrine. The most frequent treatment emergent adverse events (AEs) were headache and vomiting. However, AEs were rare and were not more frequent in students who received artemether-lumefantrine in addition to praziquantel and albendazole. In this study, we found that the addition of malaria treatment to NTD MDA is well-received and safe. Such integrated programs may leverage existing infrastructures to reduce intervention costs and could become the framework for further integrated school-based health programs.