Early and accurate diagnosis of malaria followed by prompt treatment reduces the risk of severe disease in malaria endemic regions. Presumptive treatment of malaria is widely practised to reduce malaria where microscopy or rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are not readily available. With the introduction of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) for treatment of malaria in many low-resource settings, there is need to target treatment to patients with parasitologically confirmed malaria in order to improve quality of care, reduce over consumption of anti-malarials, reduce drug pressure and in turn delay development and spread of drug resistance. This study evaluated the effect of malaria RDTs on health workers' anti-malarial drug (AMD) prescriptions among outpatients at low level health care facilities (LLHCF) within different malaria epidemiological settings in Uganda. It found that use of RDTs resulted in a 2-fold reduction in anti-malarial drug prescription at LLHCFs. The study demonstrated that RDT use is feasible at LLHCFs, and can lead to better targetting of malaria treatment. The authors suggest that nationwide deployment of RDTs in a systematic manner should be prioritised in order to improve fever case management. The process should include plans to educate HWs about the utility of RDTs in order to maximize acceptance and uptake of the diagnostic tools and thereby leading to the benefits of parasitological diagnosis of malaria.
Citation: Kyabayinze et al., Use of RDTs to improve malaria diagnosis and fever case management at primary health care facilities in Uganda Malaria Journal 2010, 9:200
Country: UgandaKeywords: Diagnosis | Severe malaria | Health Workers | Treatment | Arteminisin resistance
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