Decentralise malaria diagnosis and treatment in Africa

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Significant investment in malaria research has yielded effective interventions such as insecticide treated nets (ITNs), indoor residual spraying (IRS) and artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) to control the disease, but its burden continues to be felt among the poorest. The disease still kills over half a million people a year, the majority of them young African children who are unable to afford or access prevention methods.

Traditionally, malaria diagnosis has involved microscopic examination of blood slides in laboratories. But in Africa, poor health infrastructure has made it difficult to conduct laboratory diagnosis for all suspected malaria cases. The key challenge in malaria control in Africa is improving access to effective malaria diagnosis and treatment, which is critical to proper management of the disease and improvement of health outcomes.

Recent advances in research and the introduction of malaria rapid diagnostic test kits (RDTs) offers a perfect opportunity for improved malaria diagnosis at the community level. There is a need for those working in malaria control in Africa to identify appropriate strategies to make these tests and drugs more available to at risk-populations living in remote areas with no or limited access to healthcare.

Source: The Guardian (link opens in a new window)

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Health Care
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health care, public health