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06.01.2010 Health

Research on the impact of malaria kits in Dangme East District to begin

By GNA
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Dodowa (GAR), Jan. 5, GNA - Research on the impact of Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits for testing malaria parasites in the Dangme West District in the Greater Accra Region would begin soon.

The two-year research is expected to promote the rational on prescribing anti-malaria drugs among 52 chemical sellers, the main non-formal outlets in dispensing drugs at the community level.

This was announced by Dr Evelyn Ansah, Dangme West District Director of Health Services at a workshop organized by the African Media and Malaria Research Network at Dodowa.

It was to update journalists on the on-going malaria research activities at the Dodowa Health Research Centre.

She said there was the need to ensure rational prescription and dispensing of the newly introduced anti-malarial drugs, known as Artemisinin-Based Combination (ACT) therapies.

The ACT has replaced chloroquine, a drug which is no longer effective against the disease because of its resistance to the parasite.

Ghana has chosen artesunate-amodiaquine among ACT as her first line drug to treat malaria.

Under the research, ACT would be made available at the chemical shops under an Affordable Medicines Facility-Malaria programme, to ensure access to effective anti-malarial drugs, especially in the private sector.

Dr Ansah pointed out that the trial among chemical sellers was a follow-up to trials conducted at the health facilities, where RDT kits for malaria were introduced to study the prescription by medical practitioners, clinicians and the attitude of patients to reduce over prescription of anti-malarial drugs.

She said during the trial, about 9,236 patients were screened and 3,452 patients were exposed to the presumptive diagnosis setting where the clinician had to depend on only clinical suspicion without a laboratory test and use of microscopes to diagnose and treat patients and 3,811 patients were exposed to the setting, where microscopes were available.

Dr Ansah said it was realized that in the setting where no microscopes were available, the introduction of RDT reduced over prescription by approximately 36 per cent.

She said data on the perception of health providers and patients on the use of RDT and the cost-effectiveness of introducing RDT had been completed and being analyzed.

Malaria is endemic in Ghana but not all patients who have a headache or fever would be suffering from malaria.

Presumptive and mismanagement of malaria cases are not uncommon at the health facilities and the introduction of RDT kits is expected to help in the effective diagnosis and management of malaria cases if adopted as a policy.

GNA

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