The INTEGRATION consortium held its 1st annual investigators meeting on 6 and 7 March 2023 both in person in Rome, Italy, and virtually. The study is coordinated by Prof. Kassoum Kayentao of the Université des Sciences, des Techniques et des Technologies de Bamako (USTTB), Bamako, Mali, with partners from Burkina Faso, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The meeting opened with welcome notes from Prof. Kassoum Kayentao (Project Coordinator), and Dario Scaramuzzi (Work Package Leader on Communication and Dissemination activities) and counted with a plenary talk from Prof. Andrea Crisanti (Imperial College London – Department of Life Sciences Senate of the Italian Republic) on scientific advances in the manipulation of the natural selection of mosquitoes to disrupt the reproductive capacity of malaria vectors.
At the introductory session, Prof. Kayentao gave an overview of the project and highlighted the main aim of the study is to evaluate if the addition of Intermittent Preventive Treatment in Pregnant women with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP) delivered through Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) facilities increases the coverage of IPTp-SP and enhances antenatal clinic (ANC) attendance among pregnant women in Burkina-Faso and Mali. SMC strategies are nationally implemented in the two countries involved in the study.
The meeting objectives were: a) to review the progress of the implementation trials in Mali and Burkina Faso and ensure standardisation of methods across sites; b) to discuss the plan for the collection and analysis of project data in conjunction with the project milestones and deliverables; c) to develop on a publications strategy for all work package results; d) to review the progress of PhD student projects and mentorship arrangements; and e) to define a strategy for the completion of delayed activities during a no-cost extension period.
After the introductory session, each work package leader gave an update on the status of the project activities and the contingency measurements to ensure the primary objectives of the project will be delivered. Furthermore, preliminary results on IPTp and SMC baseline Household Survey (HHS) in Mali and Burkina Faso were presented, and based on these, the necessary adjustments in the sample size calculation for the endline HHS were discussed. Next, PhD students presented their thesis outlines to assess the systems’ effectiveness of IPTp-SP delivery through ANC+SMC as well as in health economics aspects. To end, all partners agreed on the need for close community sensitization to ensure further successful implementation of the intervention.
The INTEGRATION study has the potential to produce a direct benefit in public health impact at both regional and global levels, improving the health of expecting mothers as one of the most needed populations by providing evidence-based data.