Decentralise malaria diagnosis and treatment in Africa | Global Development Professionals Network | Guardian ProfessionalPosted: February 12, 2013
Studies conducted in several African countries have demonstrated that with minimal training and supportive supervision, CHWs have the potential to effectively use RDTs and ACTs to test and treat malaria in their communities.
In light of the current recommendation by the World Health Organisation that malaria treatment be targeted to only parasitologically confirmed malaria cases, this strategy therefore presents a new opportunity to improve malaria diagnosis and treatment at the community level. In the context of the huge human resource gaps in healthcare in many parts of Africa, decentralising malaria diagnosis and treatment from the health facility to the community level can free up health worker time to attend other equally pressing health needs.
It also has the potential to reduce wastage of expensive malaria drugs and development of drug resistance in malaria endemic countries where presumptive treatment remains a major problem. Similarly, making malaria tests more available in the community will prevent people from having to walk long distances to access healthcare, thereby averting many malaria deaths that occur as a result of delayed treatment, as well as general risk.