PSI and WHO Create Malaria Testing Roadmap

By Alena Sims, Communications Associate, PSI

WHO recommends that every suspected malaria case be confirmed by parasitological testing using microscopy or malaria rapid diagnostic tests (mRDTs) before treatment. The availability of high-quality, inexpensive mRDTs in the public sector has significantly improved and expanded diagnostic testing in the recent past. However, in the private sector, where over 40 percent of the population in malaria endemic countries seeks care and treatment for febrile illness, mRDTs are either non-existent or more expensive than the drugs used to treat malaria.

To address this gap, PSI — in partnership with Malaria Consortium, FIND, JHSPH and the WHO and with funding from UNITAID — implemented a three-year project to stimulate private sector markets for quality-assured mRDTs in five malaria-endemic, countries (Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda). The “Roadmap to Optimizing Private Sector Rapid Diagnostic Testing for Malaria,” expected to be released December 2016, was led by the WHO with support from all partners and draws significantly on the experience and data from this project.

The Roadmap provides action steps and links to practical tools to guide national malaria control programs and other key stakeholders in increasing both access to and demand for quality-assured RDTs. Practitioners can learn program planning, management and policy, procurement and quality in the private sector, supporting and sustaining the market and monitoring and evaluation in the private sector. For more information, or to receive a
copy upon publication: malaria_RDT@who.int. The final product will be published on WHO’s website: www.who.int/malaria/areas/diagnosis/rapid-diagnostic-tests/privatesector/en/.

This article is part of an ongoing conversation about #MakingMarketsWork in Impact Magazine No. 22 “Are We Thinking Big Enough” issue. Join in the conversation with @PSIImpact.

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Photo courtesy: PSI