School-aged children experience some of the greatest burdens of parasitic infections of all age groups, including helminths and malaria, often simultaneously. As well as contributing to ill-health, these parasites can impair cognitive performance and education and are also a source of transmission to other community members. As a consequence, the health of school children has received increasing attention over the last two decades, with efforts to implement school health programmes delivering anthelmintics and micronutrients and more recently moves towards including school-based malaria control interventions.
It is now recognised that in many of the world's poorest populations, adults also experience high burdens of helminth infections. Adults may even able to sustain transmission within a community, even when a very high fraction of the children are treated effectively. As a result, there is now increasing interest in the potential to demonstrate the feasibility of controlling - and perhaps even eliminating - worms using intensified mass drug administration (MDA) strategies.
LASER is interested in identifying possible interventions which could be delivered through schools and communities, and are committed to conducting large-scale randomised evaluations of new health interventions and alternative delivery strategies of such interventions. Through conducting multi-sectoral research involving both the health and education sectors, we aim to evaluate the potential impact of school- and community-based programmes to provide policy-relevant guidance.
Main areas of recent and current research include:
- Impact of school-based intermittent screening and treatment for malaria in low-moderate transmission settings in Kenya.
- Evaluating the relative impact of school-based and community-based deworming on the transmission of STH in Kenya. Learn more about our ongoing TUMIKIA trial.
- Impact and cost-effectiveness of a school-based programme of malaria diagnosis and treatment on school attendance in southern Malawi. Learn about our ongoing Learner Treatment Kit Project.
- Impact of intermittent preventive treatment with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine on malaria in Ugandan schoolchildren.
- Effect of intensive deworming on the risks of clinical malaria among Kenyan school children.