Barriers to community case management of malaria in Saraya, Senegal: training, and supply-chains

Demetri A Blanas, Youssoupha Ndiaye, Kim Nichols, Andrew Jensen, Ammar Siddiqui, Nils Hennig
Malaria Journal 2013 March 14, 12: 95

BACKGROUND: Health workers in sub-Saharan Africa can now diagnose and treat malaria in the field, using rapid diagnostic tests and artemisinin-based combination therapy in areas without microscopy and widespread resistance to previously effective drugs.

OBJECTIVE: This study evaluates communities' perceptions of a new community case management of malaria programme in the district of Saraya, south-eastern Senegal, the effectiveness of lay health worker trainings, and the availability of rapid diagnostic tests and artemisinin-based combination therapy in the field.

METHODS: The study employed qualitative and quantitative methods including focus groups with villagers, and pre- and post-training questionnaires with lay health workers.

RESULTS: Communities approved of the community case management programme, but expressed concern about other general barriers to care, particularly transportation challenges. Most lay health workers acquired important skills, but a sizeable minority did not understand the rapid diagnostic test algorithm and were not able to correctly prescribe arteminisin-based combination therapy soon after the training. Further, few women lay health workers participated in the programme. Finally, the study identified stock-outs of rapid tests and anti-malaria medication products in over half of the programme sites two months after the start of the programme, thought due to a regional shortage.

CONCLUSION: This study identified barriers to implementation of the community case management of malaria programme in Saraya that include lay health worker training, low numbers of women participants, and generalized stock-outs. These barriers warrant investigation into possible solutions of relevance to community case management generally.

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