Cost-effectiveness analysis of malaria rapid diagnostic tests for appropriate treatment of malaria at the community level in Uganda

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Kristian S Hansen, Richard Ndyomugyenyi, Pascal Magnussen, Sham Lal, Siân E. Clarke

In Sub-Saharan Africa, malaria remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality among children under 5, due to lack of access to prompt and appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Many countries have scaled-up community health workers (CHWs) as a strategy towards improving access. The present study was a cost-effectiveness analysis of the introduction of malaria rapid diagnostic tests (mRDTs) performed by CHWs in two areas of moderate-to-high and low malaria transmission in rural Uganda. CHWs were trained to perform mRDTs and treat children with artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) in the intervention arm while CHWs offered treatment based on presumptive diagnosis in the control arm. Data on the proportion of children with fever 'appropriately treated for malaria with ACT' were captured from a randomised trial. Health sector costs included: training of CHWs, community sensitisation, supervision, allowances for CHWs and provision of mRDTs and ACTs. The opportunity costs of time utilised by CHWs were estimated based on self-reporting. Household costs of subsequent treatment-seeking at public health centres and private health providers were captured in a sample of households. mRDTs performed by CHWs was associated with large improvements in appropriate treatment of malaria in both transmission settings. This resulted in low incremental costs for the health sector at US$3.0 per appropriately treated child in the moderate-to-high transmission area. Higher incremental costs at US$13.3 were found in the low transmission area due to lower utilisation of CHW services and higher programme costs. Incremental costs from a societal perspective were marginally higher. The use of mRDTs by CHWs improved the targeting of ACTs to children with malaria and was likely to be considered a cost-effective intervention compared to a presumptive diagnosis in the moderate-to-high transmission area. In contrast to this, in the low transmission area with low attendance, RDT use by CHWs was not a low cost intervention.

TidsskriftHealth Policy and Planning
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)676-689
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - 2017

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