LSTM Home > LSTM Research > LSTM Online Archive

The impact of rapid malaria diagnostic tests upon anti-malarial sales in community pharmacies in Gwagwalada, Nigeria

Ikwuobe, John O., Faragher, Brian, Alawode, Gafar and Lalloo, David ORCID: (2013) 'The impact of rapid malaria diagnostic tests upon anti-malarial sales in community pharmacies in Gwagwalada, Nigeria'. Malaria Journal, Vol 12, e380.

Malaria_J_12_380.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (406kB)



Rapid diagnostics tests for malaria (RDT) have become established as a practical solution to the challenges of parasitological confirmation of malaria before treatment in the public sector. However, little is known of their impact in private health sector facilities, such as pharmacies and drug shops. This study aimed to assess the incidence of malaria among unwell patients seeking anti-malarial treatment in two community pharmacies in Nigeria and measure the impact RDTs have on anti-malarial sales.


This was a comparison study of two pharmacies located in the suburbs of Gwagwalada, in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, between May and July 2012. In the intervention arm, patients seeking to purchase anti-malarials had an RDT performed before treatment while the control pharmacy continued normal routine practice.


A total of 1,226 participants were enrolled into the study. The incidence of malaria in the intervention arm (n = 619) was 13.6% and adolescent participants had a statistically significant higher incidence (26.0%) compared to adults (11.9%) (P = 0.001). A history of fever in the last 48 hours was associated with a statistically significant higher incidence of malaria (28.3%) (P < 0.001). Having a RDT test reduced the chance of purchasing an anti-malarial by 42% (95% CI: 38%-46%) compared to not having a test. 51.6% (276) of the study participants with a RDT negative result still purchased anti-malarials, especially if anti-malarials had been recommended by a health professional (58.9%) compared to self-referral (44.2%) (P = 0.001). Patients with RDT negative results were also more likely to purchase an anti-malarial if there was a reported malaria positive laboratory test prior to presentation (66.2%; P = 0.007), a history of fever in the last 48 hours (60.5%; P = 0.027), and primary school education or less (69.4%; P = 0.009). After adjusting for age group and gender differences, having at least a secondary school education reduced the chance of buying an anti-malarial (OR 0.504 (95% CI: 0.256-0.993)) compared to having primary education or lower.


The study highlights the enormous potential for improving appropriate prescription of anti-malarials in pharmacies and preventing unnecessary use of artemisinin combination therapy (ACT).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:
Subjects: QV Pharmacology > Anti-Inflammatory Agents. Anti-Infective Agents. Antineoplastic Agents > QV 256 Antimalarials
WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 108 Preventive health services. Preventive medicine. Travel Medicine.
WA Public Health > Health Administration and Organization > WA 546 Local Health Administration. Community Health Services
WB Practice of Medicine > Diagnosis > General Diagnosis > WB 141 General works
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 750 Malaria
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Lynn Roberts-Maloney
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2015 14:25
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:09


View details

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item