77. Baseline study of the prophylactic use of Artemisia annua against tropical infections
Surveys, medical tests and analysis of the composition of Artemisia annua extracts to assess the medical, financial and educational impact of integrating the plant into the school gardens of the two coalitions’ projects.
Duration: 24 months
Promotor: IDAY Kenya et IDAY Burkina-Faso
Beneficiaries: 9 330 students and teachers
Total budget: 47 817 €
Outside financing sought: 10 317 €
The quality of education has become a major concern in Africa and for the international community. It has been shown – and the World Bank confirmed in its 2018 Development Report – that the poor health conditions of children and some teachers depreciate children’s cognitive abilities, increase school absenteeism and thus constitute a serious obstacle to improving the quality of education in Africa. The school garden projects supported by IDAY also improve the “acceptability” of the education provided and will therefore contribute to reducing school dropout, one of the main causes of high levels of illiteracy among African youth.
In 2014, IDAY conducted an independent evaluation of the school garden project in Kenya, but this study conducted by international experts could not go into detail due to funding limitations. The study concluded that the project had a positive impact on reducing school absenteeism, school performance and reducing boarding school medical costs. Experts involved in the fight against malaria in Africa expressed doubts about the validity of the approach due to the lack of more specific and medical data. The project is therefore an evaluation of the impact of Artemisia annua on the prevalence of malaria and intestinal worms as well as on school results in 11 schools that have used Artemisia annua planted in their garden as a preventive measure in Burkina Faso and 8 schools in Kenya compared to 11 “control” schools in Burkina Faso and 4 in Kenya. Surveys will therefore be conducted by investigators or teachers according to a standard framework in 38 schools. The prevalence of malaria and intestinal worms will be monitored on a significant sample of students and the results of schools with the plant compared to those without the plant.
The aim is to contribute to improving the quality of education by combating tropical infections that affect school absenteeism and the cognitive capacity of students. The evaluation should provide a scientific assessment of the impact of Artemisia annua used preventively against these infections in order to improve the quality of basic education in Africa. The results of the study should be the subject of an international publication and constitute an important intervention at a pan-African symposium on the plant requested by the Minister of Health of Burkina Faso. The project seeks to address the World Health Organization’s concern about the impact of variation in the chemical composition of prescribed teas depending on the environmental, growing and conditioning conditions of the plant. The results of the tests will be compared with the results of the medical and survey tests. The study is therefore of critical importance for the validation of Artemisia annua as a means of combating malaria in Africa.
The results of the study are leading to a change in the attitude of health authorities in African countries and WHO resulting in the justification for IDAY to raise funds for basic research planned by Kenyatta University in collaboration with several international experts and IDAY. The study will therefore serve as a basis for longitudinal research on the prophylactic use of Artemisia annua in African schools by verifying aspects mentioned by WHO and which cannot be addressed by the basic study.
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