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Monitoring, characterization and control of chronic, symptomatic malaria infections in rural Zambia through monthly household visits by paid community health workers

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Hamainza, Busiku, Moonga, Hawela, Sikaala, Chadwick, Kamuliwo, Mulakwa, Bennett, Adam, Eisele, Thomas P, Miller, John, Seyoum, Aklilu and Killeen, Gerry ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8583-8739 (2014) 'Monitoring, characterization and control of chronic, symptomatic malaria infections in rural Zambia through monthly household visits by paid community health workers'. Malaria Journal, Vol 13, e128.

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Abstract

Background

Active, population-wide mass screening and treatment (MSAT) for chronic Plasmodium falciparum carriage to eliminate infectious reservoirs of malaria transmission have proven difficult to apply on large national scales through trained clinicians from central health authorities.

Methodology

Fourteen population clusters of approximately 1,000 residents centred around health facilities (HF) in two rural Zambian districts were each provided with three modestly remunerated community health workers (CHWs) conducting active monthly household visits to screen and treat all consenting residents for malaria infection with rapid diagnostic tests (RDT). Both CHWs and HFs also conducted passive case detection among residents who self-reported for screening and treatment.

Results

Diagnostic positivity was higher among symptomatic patients self-reporting to CHWs (42.5%) and HFs (24%) than actively screened residents (20.3%), but spatial and temporal variations of diagnostic positivity were highly consistent across all three systems. However, most malaria infections (55.6%) were identified through active home visits by CHWs rather than self-reporting to CHWs or HFs. Most (62%) malaria infections detected actively by CHWs reported one or more symptoms of illness. Most reports of fever and vomiting, plus more than a quarter of history of fever, headache and diarrhoea, were attributable to malaria infection. The minority of residents who participated >12 times had lower rates of malaria infection and associated symptoms in later contacts but most residents were tested <4 times and high malaria diagnostic positivity (32%) in active surveys, as well as incidence (1.7 detected infections per person per year) persisted in the population. Per capita cost for active service delivery by CHWs was US$5.14 but this would rise to US$10.68 with full community compliance with monthly testing at current levels of transmission, and US$6.25 if pre-elimination transmission levels and negligible treatment costs were achieved.

Conclusion

Monthly active home visits by CHWs equipped with RDTs were insufficient to eliminate the human infection reservoir in this typical African setting, despite reasonably high LLIN/IRS coverage. However, dramatic impact upon infection and morbidity burden might be attainable and cost-effective if community participation in regular testing could be improved and the substantial, but not necessarily prohibitive, costs are affordable to national programmes.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.malariajournal.com/content/13/1/128
Subjects: WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 243 Diagnositic services
WA Public Health > Health Administration and Organization > WA 546 Local Health Administration. Community Health Services
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 750 Malaria
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 755 Epidemiology
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Vector Biology Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-13-128
Depositing User: Lynn Roberts-Maloney
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2015 10:40
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2019 10:12
URI: https://archive.lstmed.ac.uk/id/eprint/5092

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