Diagnosis and Treatment

In Zanzibar, a young boy is tested for malaria using an RDT.

Effective case management remains one of the cornerstones of malaria prevention and control. PMI supports the World Health Organization (WHO) guidance that calls for universal diagnostic testing and rapid treatment with a recommended antimalarial drug only when a test is positive. Malaria diagnosis is performed by using rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) or by examining a blood smear under a microscope. WHO recommends artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), which contain an artemisinin-based drug combined with another effective antimalarial, for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria.

In all focus countries, PMI is supporting the scale-up and strengthening of diagnostic testing for malaria to ensure that all patients with malaria are properly identified and receive a quality-assured ACT in health facilities and at the community level. This approach ensures not only that only confirmed malaria cases receive treatment for malaria, but also facilitates the detection and appropriate treatment of other treatable causes of fever.

PMI provides comprehensive support for malaria diagnosis and treatment, which includes development of updated diagnosis and treatment policies, guidelines and training and supervision materials; procurement and distribution of essential commodities and equipment, including microscopes, RDTs and ACTs; support for strengthening of pharmaceutical and supply chain management systems; training and supervision of health workers at all levels of the health system, including at community level; support for quality assurance systems for diagnostic testing and antimalarial drug efficacy monitoring; development and implementation of behavior change communication; and support of operations research to evaluate and improve diagnostic and treatment interventions.

Photo source: Maggie Hallahan Photography