Prescribing practice for malaria following introduction of artemether-lumefantrine in an urban area with declining endemicity in West Africa

Okebe, JU; Walther, B; Bojang, K; Drammeh, S; Schellenberg, D; Conway, DJ; Walther, M; (2010) Prescribing practice for malaria following introduction of artemether-lumefantrine in an urban area with declining endemicity in West Africa. Malaria Journal, 9. ISSN 1475-2875 DOI:

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Background: The decline in malaria coinciding with the introduction of newer, costly anti-malarials has prompted studies into the overtreatment for malaria mostly in East Africa. The study presented here describes prescribing practices for malaria at health facilities in a West African country. Methods: Cross-sectional surveys were carried out in two urban Gambian primary health facilities (PHFs) during and outside the malaria transmission season. Facilities were comparable in terms of the staffing compliment and capability to perform slide microscopy. Patients treated for malaria were enrolled after consultations and blood smears collected and read at a reference laboratory. Slide reading results from the PHFs were compared to the reference readings and the proportion of cases treated but with a negative test result at the reference laboratory was determined. Results: Slide requests were made for 33.2% (173) of those enrolled, being more frequent in children (0-15 yrs) than adults during the wet season (p = 0.003). In the same period, requests were commoner in under-fives compared to older children (p = 0.022); however, a positive test result was 4.4 times more likely in the latter group (p = 0.010). Parasitaemia was confirmed for only 4.7% (10/215) and 12.5% (37/297) of patients in the dry and wet seasons, respectively. The negative predictive value of a PHF slide remained above 97% in both seasons. Conclusions: The study provides evidence for considerable overtreatment for malaria in a West African setting comparable to reports from areas with similar low malaria transmission in East Africa. The data suggest that laboratory facilities may be under-used, and that adherence to negative PHF slide results could significantly reduce the degree of overtreatment. The "peak prevalence" in 5-15 year olds may reflect successful implementation of malaria control interventions in under-fives, but point out the need to extend such interventions to older children.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: ARTEMISININ-COMBINATION THERAPY, CASE-MANAGEMENT, INTEGRATED, MANAGEMENT, TANZANIAN DISTRICT, CHILDHOOD ILLNESS, HEALTH FACILITIES, RANDOMIZED-TRIAL, LOW TRANSMISSION, FEBRILE ILLNESS, GUINEA-BISSAU, Adolescent, Antimalarials, therapeutic use, Artemisinins, therapeutic use, Child, Child, Preschool, Cross-Sectional Studies, Drug Combinations, Ethanolamines, therapeutic use, Female, Fluorenes, therapeutic use, Gambia, epidemiology, Guideline Adherence, statistics & numerical data, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Malaria, Falciparum, diagnosis, drug therapy, epidemiology, parasitology, Male, Microscopy, Parasitemia, diagnosis, drug therapy, Physician's Practice Patterns, statistics & numerical data, Plasmodium falciparum, isolation & purification, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Prevalence, Seasons, Sensitivity and Specificity, Urban Population
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Pathogen Molecular Biology
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
Research Centre: Malaria Centre
PubMed ID: 20573266
Web of Science ID: 280170700001


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