[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is the first-line malaria treatment throughout most of the malaria-endemic world. Data on ACT availability, price and market share are needed to provide a firm evidence base from which to assess the current situation concerning quality-assured ACT supply. This paper presents supply side data from ACTwatch outlet surveys in Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Madagascar, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia.
Between March 2009 and June 2010, nationally representative surveys of outlets providing anti-malarials to consumers were conducted. A census of all outlets with the potential to provide anti-malarials was conducted in clusters sampled randomly.
28,263 outlets were censused, 51,158 anti-malarials were audited, and 9,118 providers interviewed. The proportion of public health facilities with at least one first-line quality-assured ACT in stock ranged between 43% and 85%. Among private sector outlets stocking at least one anti-malarial, non-artemisinin therapies, such as chloroquine and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine, were widely available (> 95% of outlets) as compared to first-line quality-assured ACT (< 25%). In the public/not-for-profit sector, first-line quality-assured ACT was available for free in all countries except Benin and the DRC (US$1.29 [Inter Quartile Range (IQR): $1.29-$1.29] and $0.52[IQR: $0.00-$1.29] per adult equivalent dose respectively). In the private sector, first-line quality-assured ACT was 5-24 times more expensive than non-artemisinin therapies. The exception was Madagascar where, due to national social marketing of subsidized ACT, the price of first-line quality-assured ACT ($0.14 [IQR: $0.10, $0.57]) was significantly lower than the most popular treatment (chloroquine, $0.36 [IQR: $0.36, $0.36]). Quality-assured ACT accounted for less than 25% of total anti-malarial volumes; private-sector quality-assured ACT volumes represented less than 6% of the total market share. Most anti-malarials were distributed through the private sector, but often comprised non-artemisinin therapies, and in the DRC and Nigeria, oral artemisinin monotherapies. Provider knowledge of the first-line treatment was significantly lower in the private sector than in the public/not-for-profit sector.
These standardized, nationally representative results demonstrate the typically low availability, low market share and high prices of ACT, in the private sector where most anti-malarials are accessed, with some exceptions. The results confirm that there is substantial room to improve availability and affordability of ACT treatment in the surveyed countries. The data will also be useful for monitoring the impact of interventions such as the Affordable Medicines Facility for malaria.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Access to artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) remains limited in high malaria-burden countries, and there are concerns that the poorest people are particularly disadvantaged. This paper presents new evidence on household treatment-seeking behaviour in six African countries. These data provide a baseline for monitoring interventions to increase ACT coverage, such as the Affordable Medicines Facility for malaria (AMFm).
Nationally representative household surveys were conducted in Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Madagascar, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia between 2008 and 2010. Caregivers responded to questions about management of recent fevers in children under five. Treatment indicators were tabulated across countries, and differences in case management provided by the public versus private sector were examined using chi-square tests. Logistic regression was used to test for association between socioeconomic status and 1) malaria blood testing, and 2) ACT treatment.
Fever treatment with an ACT is low in Benin (10%), the DRC (5%), Madagascar (3%) and Nigeria (5%), but higher in Uganda (21%) and Zambia (21%). The wealthiest children are significantly more likely to receive ACT compared to the poorest children in Benin (OR = 2.68, 95% CI = 1.12-6.42); the DRC (OR = 2.18, 95% CI = 1.12-4.24); Madagascar (OR = 5.37, 95% CI = 1.58-18.24); and Nigeria (OR = 6.59, 95% CI = 2.73-15.89). Most caregivers seek treatment outside of the home, and private sector outlets are commonly the sole external source of treatment (except in Zambia). However, children treated in the public sector are significantly more likely to receive ACT treatment than those treated in the private sector (except in Madagascar). Nonetheless, levels of testing and ACT treatment in the public sector are low. Few caregivers name the national first-line drug as most effective for treating malaria in Madagascar (2%), the DRC (2%), Nigeria (4%) and Benin (10%). Awareness is higher in Zambia (49%) and Uganda (33%).
Levels of effective fever treatment are low and inequitable in many contexts. The private sector is frequently accessed however case management practices are relatively poor in comparison with the public sector. Supporting interventions to inform caregiver demand for ACT and to improve provider behaviour in both the public and private sectors are needed to achieve maximum gains in the context of improved access to effective treatment.