• Predictors of the Quality of Health Worker Treatment Practices for Uncomplicated Malaria at Government Health Facilities in Kenya.

      Zurovac, D; Rowe, A K; Ochola, S A; Noor, A M; Midia, B; English, M; Snow, R W; Médecins Sans Frontières-France, P.O. Box 39719, Nairobi, Kenya. dzurovac@wtnairobi.mimcom.net (Published by Oxford University Press, 2004-10)
      BACKGROUND: When replacing failing drugs for malaria with more effective drugs, an important step towards reducing the malaria burden is that health workers (HW) prescribe drugs according to evidence-based guidelines. Past studies have shown that HW commonly do not follow guidelines, yet few studies have explored with appropriate methods why such practices occur. METHODS: We analysed data from a survey of government health facilities in four Kenyan districts in which HW consultations were observed, caretakers and HW were interviewed, and health facility assessments were performed. The analysis was limited to children 2-59 months old with uncomplicated malaria. Treatment was defined as recommended (antimalarial recommended by national guidelines), a minor error (effective, but non-recommended antimalarial), or inappropriate (no effective antimalarial). RESULTS: We evaluated 1006 consultations performed by 135 HW at 81 facilities: 567 children received recommended treatment, 314 had minor errors, and 125 received inappropriate treatment (weighted percentages: 56.9%, 30.4%, and 12.7%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that programmatic interventions such as in-service malaria training, provision of guidelines and wall charts, and more frequent supervision were significantly associated with better treatment quality. However, neither in-service training nor possession of the guideline document showed an effect by itself. More qualified HW made more errors: both major and minor errors (but generally more minor errors) when second-line drugs were in stock, and more major errors when second-line drugs were not in stock. Child factors such as age and a main complaint of fever were also associated with treatment quality. CONCLUSIONS: Our results support the use of several programmatic strategies that can redress HW deficiencies in malaria treatment. Targeted cost-effectiveness trials would help refine these strategies and provide more precise guidance on affordable and effective ways to strengthen and maintain HW practices.
    • Rapid malaria diagnostic tests vs. clinical management of malaria in rural Burkina Faso: safety and effect on clinical decisions. A randomized trial

      Bisoffi, Zeno; Sirima, Bienvenu Sodiomon; Angheben, Andrea; Lodesani, Claudia; Gobbi, Federico; Tinto, Halidou; Van den Ende, Jef; Centre for Tropical Diseases, Sacro Cuore Hospital, Negrar (Verona), Italy; Centre National de Recherche et de Formation sur le Paludisme, Ministry of Health, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Medecins sans Frontieres, Democratic Republic of Congo; Centre Muraz, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso; Projet AnKaHeresso, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso; Department of Clinical Sciences, Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium (2009-02-15)
      OBJECTIVES: To assess if the clinical outcome of patients treated after performing a Rapid Diagnostic Test for malaria (RDT) is at least equivalent to that of controls (treated presumptively without test) and to determine the impact of the introduction of a malaria RDT on clinical decisions. METHODS: Randomized, multi-centre, open clinical trial in two arms in 2006 at the end of the dry and of the rainy season in 10 peripheral health centres in Burkina Faso: one arm with use of RDT before treatment decision, one arm managed clinically. Primary endpoint: persistence of fever at day 4. Secondary endpoints: frequency of malaria treatment and of antibiotic treatment. RESULTS: A total of 852 febrile patients were recruited in the dry season and 1317 febrile patients in the rainy season, and randomized either to be submitted to RDT (P_RTD) or to be managed presumptively (P_CLIN). In both seasons, no significant difference was found between the two randomized groups in the frequency of antimalarial treatment, nor of antibiotic prescription. In the dry season, 80.8% and 79.8% of patients with a negative RDT were nevertheless diagnosed and treated for malaria, and so were 85.0% and 82.6% negative patients in the rainy season. In the rainy season only, both diagnosis and treatment of other conditions were significantly less frequent in RDT positive vs. negative patients (48.3% vs. 61.4% and 46.2% vs. 59.9%, P = 0.00 and 0.00, respectively). CONCLUSION: Our study was inconclusive on RDT safety (clinical outcome in the two randomized groups), because of an exceedingly and unexpectedly low compliance with the negative test result. Further research is needed on best strategies to promote adherence and on the safety of a test based strategy compared with the current, presumptive treatment strategy.