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Examining the disparities of anti-malarial drug consumption among children under the age of five: a study of 5 malaria-endemic countries
Authors: Md Sabbir Hossain, Talha Sheikh Ahmed, Nahid Sultana, Muhammad Abdul Baker Chowdhury, and Md Jamal Uddin
Source: Malaria Journal, Volume 22, Issue 370; DOI:
Topic(s): Children under five
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: DEC 2023
Abstract: Background Malaria is one of the most prominent illnesses affecting children, ranking as one of the key development concerns for many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). There is not much information available on the use of anti-malarial drugs in LMICs in children under five. The study aimed to investigate disparities in anti-malarial drug consumption for malaria among children under the age of five in LMICs. Methods This study used recent available cross-sectional data from the Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS) datasets across five LMICs (Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone), which covered a portion of sub-Saharan Africa. The study was carried out between January 2, 2023, and April 15, 2023, and included children under the age of five who had taken an anti-malarial drug for malaria 2 weeks before the survey date. The outcome variable was anti-malarial drug consumption, which was classified into two groups: those who had taken anti-malarial drugs and those who had not. Results In the study of LMICs, 32,397 children under five were observed, and among them, 44.1% had received anti-malarial drugs. Of the five LMICs, Kenya had the lowest (9.2%) and Mali had the highest (70.5%) percentages of anti-malarial drug consumption. Children under five with malaria are more likely to receive anti-malarial drugs if they are over 1 year old, live in rural areas, have mothers with higher education levels, and come from wealthier families. Conclusion The study emphasizes the importance of developing universal coverage strategies for anti-malarial drug consumption at both the national and local levels. The study also recommends that improving availability and access to anti-malarial drugs may be necessary, as the consumption of these drugs for treating malaria in children under the age of five is shockingly low in some LMICs.