The World Health Organization recommends that every suspected malaria case be confirmed by parasitological testing using microscopy or Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) and that uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria be treated with artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT).
The availability of high-quality, inexpensive RDTs in the public sector has significantly improved and expanded diagnostic testing. However in the private sector, where a large proportion (over 40 percent) of the population in endemic countries seeks care and treatment for febrile illness, RDTs are either non-existent or more expensive than ACT. As a result, febrile illness is presumptively treated with ACT, leading to mistreatment of potentially life-threatening non-malaria febrile illnesses and to the overuse of ACT.
The UNITAID Private Sector RDT Project aims to stimulate the creation of a private sector market for malaria RDTs, by:
- Increasing both access to and demand for quality-assured RDTs.
- Improving private providers’ fever case management skills.
- Developing and implementing a roadmap for public-private engagement that will guide policy and regulation.
By scaling-up access to affordable, quality-assured RDTs offered by trained and supervised providers incentivized to correctly manage febrile illness, the project will contribute to reducing delays in the management of febrile illness and promote treatment adherence. In addition, by reducing overtreatment with ACT, the project will help to improve the rational use of antimalarial drugs.
The documented learning gained from the project will feed into policy recommendations, guidance and advocacy documents that will inform the rollout of similar initiatives across other malaria endemic countries.
We are leading this project together with collaborating implementers:
- Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND)
- Malaria Consortium (MC)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
We will implement the project in Kenya, Madagascar and Tanzania by working directly with private outlets, while MC in Nigeria and Uganda will use a more indirect approach by working through the manufacturers to reach the outlets. FIND and WHO will provide support to all country programs for quality assurance of RDTs and guidance on regulations and policy. Finally, FIND will work with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health to provide input on training materials, job aids and tools for supervising providers’ proficiency, as well as conduct a semi-independent project evaluation. The approaches will be modified to fit the local context.
- UNITAID Private Sector RDT Project
This one pager outlines how the UNITAID Private Sector RDT Project aims to stimulate the creation of a private sector market for malaria, the project's expected impact and outcomes, and the partners involved.