800 houses were randomly selected from 91 villages using census data. Within each village the houses were randomly allocated to the control and intervention groups. One child was randomly selected from each house and stratified by age (older or younger than 72 months) for each group. All randomisation was done using code written by DJ in MATLAB, from a database of census data. Within a village, half of the selected houses were allocated to each study group, with an additional house randomly allocated to a group if there was an odd number of houses. At least four houses (two per study group), were enrolled in each village. Stratified randomisation by village reduced the likelihood of chance imbalances between study groups. Additionally, data on potential confounders20 (child age, month, Fula ethnicity, and riverbank location) were collected and corrected for in the analysis of clinical malaria and mosquito entry. From the census list of the children in the study villages, one child per house was randomly selected for enrolment in the study cohort (figure 1) with roughly equal numbers of children aged 6 to 71 months and 72 to 156 months. When possible, children who left the study were replaced by another child, randomly selected from within the same house. Of the 800 houses, 120 were randomly selected for monthly light trap collections, balanced between groups and stratified by village and riverbank location (north or south). The randomisation was done electronically by DJ directly from the study database.

Trial profile

It was impossible to conduct this study in a fully masked manner. Observer bias was reduced where feasible. Blood films were read by microscopists masked to the intervention status of the participants. Bias arising from using mosquito collectors was reduced by using standard traps that do not rely on a fieldworker to collect specimens. Mosquitoes were examined and analysed by technicians who did not know the trap location. Datasets were unmasked once data critical for the listed endpoints had been locked.

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