Although the risk of malaria is greatest in early childhood, significant numbers of
schoolchildren remain at risk from malaria infection, clinical illness and death. By the time
they reach school, many children have already acquired some clinical immunity and the ability
to limit parasite growth, and thus most infections are asymptomatic and will go undetected
and untreated. Asymptomatic parasitaemia contributes to anaemia, reducing concentration and
learning in the classroom, and interventions aiming to reduce asymptomatic parasite carriage
may bring education, as well as health, benefits.
Intermittent parasite clearance (IPC) delivered through schools is a simple intervention,
which can be readily integrated into broader school health programmes, and may usefully
supplement the community-distribution of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) in countries with a
policy of universal coverage of nets.
This study seeks to establish whether intermittent parasite clearance undertaken once a year
at the end of the malaria transmission season can reduce malaria parasite carriage and
anaemia amongst school-going children already using insecticide-treated nets, and its
consequent impact on school attendance and performance, in order to assess its suitability
for inclusion as a standard intervention in school health programmes in areas of seasonal