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Save the Children
Malaria is one of the most serious public health problems in Mali. It accounts for 37.5% of health clinic consultations and 72% of deaths amongst children under 5 years and is the main cause of anaemia amongst pregnant women. Sikasso region has the highest burden of malaria because it has the longest rainy season and malaria transmission period, which lasts between 4-6 months.
Children under the age of five years and pregnant women are the primary targets for most malaria control programs. These populations experience the most acute symptoms of malaria, and cases are more likely to result in mortality. However, school-age children are the age group most commonly infected with malaria parasites. These infections are usually asymptomatic, so go undetected and thus never get treated. Previous research on the effect of malaria on education in Mali found that malaria was the main cause of school absenteeism and that both asymptomatic and clinical malaria affect children’s school performance.
Although there are policies being implemented that 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. The research presented in this document, funded through Save the Children’s Child Sponsorship resources with additional support from the Wellcome Trust, contributes to the evidence base needed to advance malaria control in schools in Mali.