By Stephen Poyer, Health Area Research Advisor, Malaria and Child Survival
Global progress against malaria has stalled and there is renewed urgency to expand access to core malaria interventions in high-burden countries. Private sector providers have a crucial role to play in case management across the malaria elimination continuum. Almost 50 percent of the global malaria burden currently falls in 6 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where over half of care-seeking for fever occurs in the private sector. PSI has recent experience supporting private sector malaria case management in 3 of these 6 countries, including Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which together account for 40 percent of global malaria burden and where private sector care seeking represents up to 70 percent of health care visits. Through this work, PSI has found that private sector engagement is key to improving access to quality malaria case management in such settings.
Between 2014 and 2017, PSI employed a Market Development Approach to transform the private sector malaria case management market in Kinshasa, DRC. A data-driven market review helped identify key constraints to sustainable market performance and informed the design of tailored supply and demand interventions, executed by direct and indirect market actors. Four new quality assured artemisinin-based combination therapy (QAACT) brands were successfully registered and brought to market. QAACT availability more than doubled, prices dropped by over $3 USD, and QAACT market share increased from 2 percent to 14 percent. Supporting interventions led to both a change in policy that widened access to rapid diagnostic tests through pharmacies and a government-owned plan to reduce taxes and tariffs on malaria commodities.
Process Steps in the Market Development Approach:
National Malaria Control Programs and the global malaria community can achieve a major step towards universal health coverage by continuing to invest in market development approaches. These ensure functioning and sustainable quality case management markets. We call on the malaria community to engage the private sector using proven market development approaches to improve quality case management in high-burden settings.
Banner image © PSI/Damien Schumann