[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) for malaria control are widespread but coverage remains inadequate. We developed a Bayesian model using data from 102 national surveys, triangulated against delivery data and distribution reports, to generate year-by-year estimates of four ITN coverage indicators. We explored the impact of two potential 'inefficiencies': uneven net distribution among households and rapid rates of net loss from households. We estimated that, in 2013, 21% (17%-26%) of ITNs were over-allocated and this has worsened over time as overall net provision has increased. We estimated that rates of ITN loss from households are more rapid than previously thought, with 50% lost after 23 (20-28) months. We predict that the current estimate of 920 million additional ITNs required to achieve universal coverage would in reality yield a lower level of coverage (77% population access). By improving efficiency, however, the 920 million ITNs could yield population access as high as 95%.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mass drug administration (MDA) and focal MDA (fMDA) using dihydroartemisinin plus piperaquine (DHAp), represent two strategies to maximize the use of existing information to achieve greater clearance of human infection and reduce the parasite reservoir, and provide longer chemoprophylactic protection against new infections. The primary aim of this study is to quantify the relative effectiveness of MDA and fMDA with DHAp against no mass treatment (standard of care) for reducing Plasmodium falciparum prevalence and incidence.
The study will be conducted along Lake Kariba in Southern Province, Zambia; an area of low to moderate malaria transmission and high coverage of vector control. A community randomized controlled trial (CRCT) of 60 health facility catchment areas (HFCAs) will be used to evaluate the impact of two rounds of MDA and fMDA interventions, relative to a control of no mass treatment, stratified by high and low transmission. Community residents in MDA HFCAs will be treated with DHAp at the end of the dry season (round one: November to December 2014) and the beginning of the rainy season (round two: February to March 2015). Community residents in fMDA HFCAs will be tested during the same two rounds for malaria parasites with a rapid diagnostic test; all positive individuals and all individuals living in their household will be treated with DHAp. Primary outcomes include malaria parasite prevalence (n = 5,640 children aged one month to under five-years-old), as measured by pre- and post-surveys, and malaria parasite infection incidence (n = 2,250 person-years among individuals aged three months and older), as measured by a monthly longitudinal cohort. The study is powered to detect approximately a 50 % relative reduction in these outcomes between each intervention group versus the control.
Strengths of this trial include: a robust study design (CRCT); cross-sectional parasite surveys as well as a longitudinal cohort; and stratification of high and low transmission areas. Primary limitations include: statistical power to detect only a 50 % reduction in primary outcomes within high and low transmission strata; potential for contamination; and potential for misclassification of exposure.
Identifier: Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT02329301 . Registration date: 30 December 2014.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since the year 2000, a concerted campaign against malaria has led to unprecedented levels of intervention coverage across sub-Saharan Africa. Understanding the effect of this control effort is vital to inform future control planning. However, the effect of malaria interventions across the varied epidemiological settings of Africa remains poorly understood owing to the absence of reliable surveillance data and the simplistic approaches underlying current disease estimates. Here we link a large database of malaria field surveys with detailed reconstructions of changing intervention coverage to directly evaluate trends from 2000 to 2015, and quantify the attributable effect of malaria disease control efforts. We found that Plasmodium falciparum infection prevalence in endemic Africa halved and the incidence of clinical disease fell by 40% between 2000 and 2015. We estimate that interventions have averted 663 (542–753 credible interval) million clinical cases since 2000. Insecticide-treated nets, the most widespread intervention, were by far the largest contributor (68% of cases averted). Although still below target levels, current malaria interventions have substantially reduced malaria disease incidence across the continent. Increasing access to these interventions, and maintaining their effectiveness in the face of insecticide and drug resistance, should form a cornerstone of post-2015 control strategies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A cluster, randomized, control trial of three dry-season rounds of a mass testing and treatment intervention (MTAT) using rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and artemether-lumefantrine (AL) was conducted in four districts in Southern Province, Zambia.
Data were collected on the costs and logistics of the intervention and paired with effectiveness estimated from a community randomized control trial for the purpose of conducting a provider perspective cost-effectiveness analysis of MTAT vs no MTAT (Standard of Care).
Dry-season MTAT in this setting did not reduce malaria transmission sufficiently to permit transition to a case-investigation strategy to then pursue malaria elimination, however, the intervention did substantially reduce malaria illness and was a highly cost-effective intervention for malaria burden reduction in this moderate transmission area. The cost per RDT administered was estimated to be USD4.39 (range: USD1.62-13.96) while the cost per AL treatment administered was estimated to be USD34.74 (range: USD3.87-3,835). The net cost per disability adjusted life year averted (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio) was estimated to be USD804.
The intervention appears to be highly cost-effective relative to World Health Organization thresholds for malaria burden reduction in Zambia as compared to no MTAT. However, it was estimated that population-wide mass drug administration is likely to be more cost-effective for burden reduction and for transmission reduction compared to MTAT.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A mass test and treat campaign (MTAT) using rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and artemether-lumefantrine (AL) was conducted in Southern Zambia in 2012 and 2013 to reduce the parasite reservoir and progress towards malaria elimination. Through this intervention, community health workers (CHWs) tested all household members with rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and provided treatment to those that tested positive.
A qualitative study was undertaken to understand CHW and community perceptions regarding the MTAT campaign. A total of eight focus groups and 33 in-depth and key informant interviews were conducted with CHWs, community members and health centre staff that participated in the MTAT.
Interviews and focus groups with CHWs and community members revealed that increased knowledge of malaria prevention, the ability to reach people who live far from health centres, and the ability of the MTAT campaign to reduce the malaria burden were the greatest perceived benefits of the campaign. Conversely, the primary potential barriers to effectiveness included refusals to be tested, limited adherence to drug regimens, and inadequate commodity supply. Study respondents generally agreed that MTAT services were scalable outside of the study area but would require greater involvement from district and provincial medical staff.
These findings highlight the importance of increased community sensitization as part of mass treatment campaigns for improving campaign coverage and acceptance. Further, they suggest that communication channels between the Ministry of Health, National Malaria Control Centre and Medical Stores Limited may need to be improved so as to ensure there is consistent supply and management of commodities. Continued capacity building of CHWs and health facility supervisors is critical for a more effective programme and sustained progress towards malaria elimination.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Due to challenges in laboratory confirmation, reporting completeness, timeliness, and health access, routine incidence data from health management information systems (HMIS) have rarely been used for the rigorous evaluation of malaria control program scale-up in Africa.
We used data from the Zambia HMIS for 2009-2011, a period of rapid diagnostic and reporting scale-up, to evaluate the association between insecticide-treated net (ITN) program intensity and district-level monthly confirmed outpatient malaria incidence using a dose-response national platform approach with district-time units as the unit of analysis. A Bayesian geostatistical model was employed to estimate longitudinal district-level ITN coverage from household survey and programmatic data, and a conditional autoregressive model (CAR) was used to impute missing HMIS data. The association between confirmed malaria case incidence and ITN program intensity was modeled while controlling for known confounding factors, including climate variability, reporting, testing, treatment-seeking, and access to health care, and additionally accounting for spatial and temporal autocorrelation.
An increase in district level ITN coverage of one ITN per household was associated with an estimated 27% reduction in confirmed case incidence overall (incidence rate ratio (IRR): 0 · 73, 95% Bayesian Credible Interval (BCI): 0 · 65-0 · 81), and a 41% reduction in areas of lower malaria burden.
When improved through comprehensive parasitologically confirmed case reporting, HMIS data can become a valuable tool for evaluating malaria program scale-up. Using this approach we provide further evidence that increased ITN coverage is associated with decreased malaria morbidity and use of health services for malaria illness in Zambia. These methods and results are broadly relevant for malaria program evaluations currently ongoing in sub-Saharan Africa, especially as routine confirmed case data improve.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Population Health Metrics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Randomized trials and mathematical modeling suggest that insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) provide community-level protection to both those using ITNs and those without individual access. Using nationally representative household survey datasets from 17 African countries, we examined whether community ITN coverage is associated with malaria infections in children < 5 years old and all-cause child mortality (ACCM) among children < 5 years old in households with one or more ITNs versus without any type of mosquito net (treated or untreated). Increasing ITN coverage (> 50%) was protective against malaria infections and ACCM for children in households with an ITN, although this protection was not conferred to children in households without ITNs in these data. Children in households with ITNs were protected against malaria infections and ACCM with ITN coverage > 30%, but this protection was not significant with ITN coverage < 30%. Results suggest that ITNs are more effective with higher ITN coverage.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
In malaria-endemic countries, the absence of parasitological confirmation of malaria infection potentially results in overtreatment of non-malaria febrile illness with antimalarial drugs; this may lead to healthcare workers (HCW) missing other treatable illness or wastage of resources. This paper presents results from nationally representative assessments of malaria diagnostic accuracy, quality and capacity in Ghana and the Republic of Benin.
Cross-sectional surveys were conducted in December 2012 among a representative sample of health facilities (n=30 per country), using a modified service provision assessment, followed by HCW observations and interviews. To analyze the data we used χ(2) statistics and logistic regression.
Malaria microscopy and rapid diagnostic test interpretation was accurate most of the time in both countries. Drugs were generally prescribed in line with positive malaria test results (Ghana: 85.4%, 95% CI: 72.2-98.7; Benin: 83.6%, 95% CI: 68.7-98.4), although some patients with negative malaria test results still received treatment (Ghana: 30.1%, 95% CI: 11.1-49.0; Benin: 37.8%, 95% CI: 22.6-53.0).
Diagnostics for malaria are often performed adequately and accurately in Ghana and Benin, although diagnostic coverage within facilities remains incomplete and some individuals who test negative for malaria receive antimalarial drugs.
No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Active, population-wide mass screening and treatment (MSAT) for chronic Plasmodium falciparum carriage to eliminate infectious reservoirs of malaria transmission have proven difficult to apply on large national scales through trained clinicians from central health authorities.Methodology: Fourteen population clusters of approximately 1,000 residents centred around health facilities (HF) in two rural Zambian districts were each provided with three modestly remunerated community health workers (CHWs) conducting active monthly household visits to screen and treat all consenting residents for malaria infection with rapid diagnostic tests (RDT). Both CHWs and HFs also conducted passive case detection among residents who self-reported for screening and treatment.
Diagnostic positivity was higher among symptomatic patients self-reporting to CHWs (42.5%) and HFs (24%) than actively screened residents (20.3%), but spatial and temporal variations of diagnostic positivity were highly consistent across all three systems. However, most malaria infections (55.6%) were identified through active home visits by CHWs rather than self-reporting to CHWs or HFs. Most (62%) malaria infections detected actively by CHWs reported one or more symptoms of illness. Most reports of fever and vomiting, plus more than a quarter of history of fever, headache and diarrhoea, were attributable to malaria infection. The minority of residents who participated >12 times had lower rates of malaria infection and associated symptoms in later contacts but most residents were tested <4 times and high malaria diagnostic positivity (32%), as well as incidence (1.46 detected infections per person per year) persisted in the population. Per capita cost for active service delivery by CHWs was US$5.14 but this would rise to US$10.68 with full community compliance with monthly testing at current levels of transmission, and US$6.25 if pre-elimination transmission levels and negligible treatment costs were achieved.
While monthly active home visits by CHWs equipped with RDTs were insufficient to eliminate the human infection reservoir in this typical African setting, despite reasonably high LLIN/IRS coverage. However, dramatic impact upon infection and morbidity burden might be attainable and cost-effective if community participation in regular testing can be improved and the substantial, but not necessarily prohibitive, costs are affordable to national programmes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The dramatic escalation of malaria control activities in Africa since the year 2000 has increased the importance of accurate measurements of impact on malaria epidemiology and burden. This study presents a systematic review of the emerging published evidence base on trends in malaria risk in Africa and argues that more systematic, timely, and empirically-based approaches are urgently needed to track the rapidly evolving landscape of transmission.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies of anemia epidemiology have been geographically limited with little detail about severity or etiology. Using publicly available data, we estimated mild, moderate and severe anemia from 1990 to 2010 for 187 countries, both sexes, and 20 age groups. We then performed cause-specific attribution to 17 conditions using data and resources from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors (GBD) 2010 Study. Global anemia prevalence in 2010 was 32.9%, causing 68.36 (95% CI 40.98 - 107.54) million years lived with disability (8.8% of total for all conditions; 95% CI 6.3-11.7%). Prevalence dropped for both sexes from 1990 to 2010, though more for males. Females' prevalence was higher in most regions and age groups. South Asia and central, west, and east sub-Saharan Africa had the highest burden, while east, southeast, and south Asia saw the greatest reductions. Iron-deficiency anemia was the top cause globally, though ten different conditions were among the top three in regional rankings. Malaria, schistosomiasis, and chronic kidney disease-related anemia were the only conditions to increase in prevalence. Hemoglobinopathies made significant contributions in most populations. Burden was highest in children under 5 years old, the only age groups with negative trends from 1990 to 2010.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pregnant women in malaria-endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa are especially vulnerable to malaria. Recommended prevention strategies include intermittent preventive treatment with two doses of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and the use of insecticide-treated nets. However, progress with implementation has been slow and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership target of 80% coverage of both interventions by 2010 has not been met. We aimed to review the coverage of intermittent preventive treatment, insecticide-treated nets, and antenatal care for pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa and to explore associations between coverage and individual and country-level factors, including the role of funding for malaria prevention.
METHODS We used data from nationally representative household surveys from 2009-11 to estimate coverage of intermittent preventive treatment, use of insecticide-treated nets, and attendance at antenatal clinics by pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa. Using demographic data for births and published data for malaria exposure, we also estimated the number of malaria-exposed births (livebirths and stillbirths combined) for 2010 by country. We used meta-regression analysis to investigate the factors associated with coverage of intermittent preventive treatment and use of insecticide-treated nets.
RESULTS Of the 21·4 million estimated malaria-exposed births across 27 countries in 2010, an estimated 4·6 million (21·5%, 95% CI 19·3-23·7) were born to mothers who received intermittent preventive treatment. Insecticide-treated nets were used during pregnancy for 10·5 million of 26·9 million births across 37 countries (38·8%, 34·6-43·0). Antenatal care was attended at least once by 16·3 of 20·8 million women in 2010 (78·3%, 75·2-81·4; n=26 countries) and at least twice by 14·7 of 19·6 million women (75·1%, 72·9-77·3; n=22 countries). For the countries with previous estimates for 2007, coverage of intermittent preventive treatment increased from 13·1% (11·9-14·3) to 21·2% (18·9-23·5; n=14 countries) and use of insecticide-treated nets increased from 17·9% (15·1-20·7) to 41·6% (37·2-46·0; n=24 countries) in 2010. A fall in coverage by more than 10% was seen in two of 24 countries for intermittent preventive treatment and in three of 30 countries for insecticide-treated nets. High disbursement of funds for malaria control and a long time interval since adoption of the relevant policy were associated with the highest coverage of intermittent preventive treatment. High disbursement of funds for malaria control and high total fertility rate were associated with the greatest use of insecticide-treated nets, whereas a high per-head gross domestic product (GDP) was associated with less use of nets than was a lower GDP. Coverage of intermittent preventive treatment showed greater inequity overall than use of insecticide-treated nets, with richer, educated, and urban women more likely to receive preventive treatment than their poorer, uneducated, rural counterparts.
INTERPRETATION Although coverage of intermittent preventive treatment and use of insecticide-treated nets by pregnant women has increased in most countries, coverage remains far below international targets, despite fairly high rates of attendance at antenatal clinics. The effect of the implementation of WHO's 2012 policy update for intermittent preventive treatment, which aims to simplify the message and align preventive treatment with the focused antenatal care schedule, should be assessed to find out whether it leads to improvements in coverage.
FUNDING Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · The Lancet Infectious Diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Mass distribution of long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets (LLINs) has led to large increases in LLIN coverage in many African countries. As LLIN ownership levels increase, planners of future mass distributions face the challenge of deciding whether to ignore the nets already owned by households or to take these into account and attempt to target individuals or households without nets. Taking existing nets into account would reduce commodity costs but require more sophisticated, and potentially more costly, distribution procedures. The decision may also have implications for the average age of nets in use and therefore on the maintenance of universal LLIN coverage over time.
A stochastic simulation model based on the NetCALC algorithm was used to determine the scenarios under which it would be cost saving to take existing nets into account, and the potential effects of doing so on the age profile of LLINs owned. The model accounted for variability in timing of distributions, concomitant use of continuous distribution systems, population growth, sampling error in pre-campaign coverage surveys, variable net ‘decay’ parameters and other factors including the feasibility and accuracy of identifying existing nets in the field.
Results indicate that (i) where pre-campaign coverage is around 40% (of households owning at least 1 LLIN), accounting for existing nets in the campaign will have little effect on the mean age of the net population and (ii) even at pre-campaign coverage levels above 40%, an approach that reduces LLIN distribution requirements by taking existing nets into account may have only a small chance of being cost-saving overall, depending largely on the feasibility of identifying nets in the field. Based on existing literature the epidemiological implications of such a strategy is likely to vary by transmission setting, and the risks of leaving older nets in the field when accounting for existing nets must be considered.
Where pre-campaign coverage levels established by a household survey are below 40% we recommend that planners do not take such LLINs into account and instead plan a blanket mass distribution. At pre-campaign coverage levels above 40%, campaign planners should make explicit consideration of the cost and feasibility of accounting for existing LLINs before planning blanket mass distributions. Planners should also consider restricting the coverage estimates used for this decision to only include nets under two years of age in order to ensure that old and damaged nets do not compose too large a fraction of existing net coverage.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Parasites & Vectors
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Considerable progress has been made in reducing maternal, newborn, and child mortality world-wide, but many more deaths could be prevented if effective interventions were available to all who could benefit from them. Timely, high-quality measurements of intervention coverage—the proportion of a population in need of a health intervention that actually receives it—are essential to support sound decisions about progress and investments in women's and children's health. The PLOS Medicine ''Measuring Coverage in MNCH'' Collection of research studies and reviews presents systematic assess-ments of the validity of health intervention coverage measurement based on household surveys, the primary method for estimating population-level intervention coverage in low-and middle-income countries. In this overview of the Collection, we discuss how and why some of the indicators now being used to track intervention coverage may not provide fully reliable coverage mea-surements, and how a better understanding of the systematic and random error inherent in these coverage indicators can help in their interpretation and use. We draw together strategies proposed across the Collection for improving coverage measurement, and recommend continued support for high-quality household surveys at national and sub-national levels, supplemented by surveys with lighter tools that can be implemented every 1–2 years and by complementary health-facility-based assessments of service quality. Finally, we stress the importance of learning more about coverage measure-ment to strengthen the foundation for assessing and improving the progress of maternal, newborn, and child health programs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess progress in the scale-up of rapid diagnostic tests and artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) across Africa, malaria control programs have increasingly relied on standardized national household surveys to determine the proportion of children with a fever in the past 2 wk who received an effective antimalarial within 1-2 d of the onset of fever. Here, the validity of caregiver recall for measuring the primary coverage indicators for malaria diagnosis and treatment of children <5 y old is assessed.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in five public clinics in Kaoma District, Western Provence, Zambia, to estimate the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of caregivers' recall of malaria testing, diagnosis, and treatment, compared to a gold standard of direct observation at the health clinics. Compared to the gold standard of clinic observation, for recall for children with fever in the past 2 wk, the sensitivity for recalling that a finger/heel stick was done was 61.9%, with a specificity of 90.0%. The sensitivity and specificity of caregivers' recalling a positive malaria test result were 62.4% and 90.7%, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of recalling that the child was given a malaria diagnosis, irrespective of whether a laboratory test was actually done, were 76.8% and 75.9%, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity for recalling that an ACT was given were 81.0% and 91.5%, respectively.
Based on these findings, results from household surveys should continue to be used for ascertaining the coverage of children with a fever in the past 2 wk that received an ACT. However, as recall of a malaria diagnosis remains suboptimal, its use in defining malaria treatment coverage is not recommended. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.