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Title: Measurement of malaria transmission and impact of malaria control interventions using health facility and community-based routine reporting systems
Author: Hamainza, Busiku
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 9734
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2014
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Globally malaria still remains the most important parasitic disease of public health interest. In the recent past, most endemic countries have deployed and scaled up both preventive and curative interventions to reduce malaria transmission and, ideally, eliminate it. This has lead to global reductions in both mortality and incidence of malaria. These declines have been attributed to the reinvigoration of the global malaria control agenda by the explicit ambition of achieving elimination, which has lead to an increase in funding for national control programmes to increase coverage of preventive interventions, field compatible diagnostic tools for confirming parasite infection, and increased access to effective treatment. As a result of declines in malaria transmission, the focal nature of malaria transmission has become much more evident and has lead to consideration of surveillance as a key intervention for malaria control/elimination in its own right. Surveillance systems have been well established in most formal health facilities but the incorporation of these systems at community level and operationalised by community health workers (CHWs) still remains limited. Additionally, these few examples of CHW-implemented surveillance systems have been typically only reporting indicators of malaria infection burden, without capturing indicators of intervention availability, deployment, coverage and utilisation, thus representing a missed opportunity for routine monitoring and evaluation of impact of interventions in “real time” to inform program planning and implementation. The study was established as part of a multi-country study under the Malaria Transmission Consortium Project whose primary objective was to develop and evaluate new or improved methods for measuring malaria transmission. Thus the overall goal of this study was to demonstrate how malaria transmission, and impact of interventions, could be routinely measured through a novel longitudinal community based surveillance system (CBSS) operationalised by modestly paid CHWs. The CBSS included both passive and active surveillance activities using field – compatible test kits for in situ parasitological detection of malaria infections, based on which confirmed cases were treated with anti-malarial drugs, coupled with a detailed questionnaire on access and use of malaria control interventions and population characteristics. Passive surveillance was achieved conventionally whenever community members self-reported to the CHWs and active surveillance was achieved through monthly active visits to all households in their catchment populations to offer testing and treatment. In addition to recording detailed details of each patient contact in a paper patient register, weekly summaries of selected data elements were submitted by the CHWs using a mobile phone platform via short messaging system (SMS). The detailed reference data recorded in the patient register was then used to monitor malaria infection dynamics in the study population, evaluate the impact of preventative measures, such as indoor residual spraying (IRS) and long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and validate the electronic summaries submitted via SMS. Overall, the CBSS did not routinely capture all malaria infections in the study population and was insufficient to eliminate the human parasite reservoir. This was primarily due to limited study participant participation with the monthly active testing and treatment offered by the CHWs. However, the CBSS clearly demonstrated the incremental and residual impact to supplementation of pyrethroid-treated LLINs with non - pyrethroid insecticides applied by IRS in areas where the dominant malaria vector is highly resistant to pyrethroids. The adequacy of the SMS reports submitted by the CHWs confirms the great potential of mobile phone technology for facilitating and improving the effectiveness of community based reporting. Despite its limitations, the CBSS successfully provided programmatically relevant information regarding malaria infection dynamics across the large study area at a very affordable cost. The CHWs demonstrated their ability to not only provide treatment services but also adequately report their findings both electronically and on paper. CHWs are primarily tasked with providing routine health services at community level but clearly also have a valuable auxiliary role to play in “real time” surveillance of malaria, and most probably a range of other diseases. If the full potential of CHWs as agents of health surveillance can be realized, control programme progress can be measured through spatial and temporal mapping of transmission with greater sensitivity and at finer scales than is possible with health facilities alone, to enable improved, better-informed program planning, resource allocation and implementation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RA Public aspects of medicine ; RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine