The ACTwatch project: methods to describe anti-malarial markets in seven countries


Shewchuk, T; O'Connell, KA; Goodman, C; Hanson, K; Chapman, S; Chavasse, D; (2011) The ACTwatch project: methods to describe anti-malarial markets in seven countries. Malaria Journal, 10. ISSN 1475-2875 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-10-325

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Abstract

Background: Policy makers, governments and donors are faced with an information gap when considering ways to improve access to artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) and malaria diagnostics including rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). To help address some of these gaps, a five-year multi-country research project called ACTwatch was launched. The project is designed to provide a comprehensive picture of the anti-malarial market to inform national and international anti-malarial drug policy decision-making. Methods: The project is being conducted in seven malaria-endemic countries: Benin, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia from 2008 to 2012. ACTwatch measures which anti-malarials are available, where they are available and at what price and who they are used by. These indicators are measured over time and across countries through three study components: outlet surveys, supply chain studies and household surveys. Nationally representative outlet surveys examine the market share of different anti-malarials passing through public facilities and private retail outlets. Supply chain research provides a picture of the supply chain serving drug outlets, and measures mark-ups at each supply chain level. On the demand side, nationally representative household surveys capture treatment seeking patterns and use of anti-malarial drugs, as well as respondent knowledge of anti-malarials. Discussion: The research project provides findings on both the demand and supply side determinants of antimalarial access. There are four key features of ACTwatch. First is the overlap of the three study components where nationally representative data are collected over similar periods, using a common sampling approach. A second feature is the number and diversity of countries that are studied which allows for cross-country comparisons. Another distinguishing feature is its ability to measure trends over time. Finally, the project aims to disseminate findings widely for decision-making. Conclusions: ACTwatch is a unique multi-country research project that threads together anti-malarial supply and consumer behaviour to provide an evidence base to policy makers that can help determine where interventions may positively impact access to and use of quality-assured ACT and RDTs. Because of its ability to detect change over time, it is well suited to monitor the effects of policy or intervention developments in a country.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Global Health and Development
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
Research Centre: Malaria Centre
PubMed ID: 22039780
Web of Science ID: 297107700001
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/26549

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