Browsing Malaria by Subjects
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Malaria: current status of control, diagnosis, treatment, and a proposed agenda for research and development.Rolling back malaria is possible. Tools are available but they are not used. Several countries deploy, as their national malaria control treatment policy, drugs that are no longer effective. New and innovative methods of vector control, diagnosis, and treatment should be developed, and work towards development of new drugs and a vaccine should receive much greater support. But the pressing need, in the face of increasing global mortality and general lack of progress in malaria control, is research into the best methods of deploying and using existing approaches, particularly insecticide-treated mosquito nets, rapid methods of diagnosis, and artemisinin-based combination treatments. Evidence on these approaches should provide national governments and international donors with the cost-benefit information that would justify much-needed increases in global support for appropriate and effective malaria control.
Operational response to malaria epidemics: are rapid diagnostic tests cost-effective?OBJECTIVE: To compare the cost-effectiveness of malaria treatment based on presumptive diagnosis with that of malaria treatment based on rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). METHODS: We calculated direct costs (based on experience from Ethiopia and southern Sudan) and effectiveness (in terms of reduced over-treatment) of a free, decentralised treatment programme using artesunate plus amodiaquine (AS + AQ) or artemether-lumefantrine (ART-LUM) in a Plasmodium falciparum epidemic. Our main cost-effectiveness measure was the incremental cost per false positive treatment averted by RDTs. RESULTS: As malaria prevalence increases, the difference in cost between presumptive and RDT-based treatment rises. The threshold prevalence above which the RDT-based strategy becomes more expensive is 21% in the AS + AQ scenario and 55% in the ART-LUM scenario, but these thresholds increase to 58 and 70%, respectively, if the financing body tolerates an incremental cost of 1 euro per false positive averted. However, even at a high (90%) prevalence of malaria consistent with an epidemic peak, an RDT-based strategy would only cost moderately more than the presumptive strategy: +29.9% in the AS + AQ scenario and +19.4% in the ART-LUM scenario. The treatment comparison is insensitive to the age and pregnancy distribution of febrile cases, but is strongly affected by variation in non-biomedical costs. If their unit price were halved, RDTs would be more cost-effective at a malaria prevalence up to 45% in case of AS + AQ treatment and at a prevalence up to 68% in case of ART-LUM treatment. CONCLUSION: In most epidemic prevalence scenarios, RDTs would considerably reduce over-treatment for only a moderate increase in costs over presumptive diagnosis. A substantial decrease in RDT unit price would greatly increase their cost-effectiveness, and should thus be advocated. A tolerated incremental cost of 1 euro is probably justified given overall public health and financial benefits. The RDTs should be considered for malaria epidemics if logistics and human resources allow.