Community case management in malaria: review and perspectives after four years of operational experience in Saraya district, south-east Senegal

Youssoupha Ndiaye, Jean L A Ndiaye, Badara Cisse, Demetri Blanas, Jonas Bassene, Isaac A Manga, Mansour Ndiath, Sylvain L Faye, Mamoudou Bocoum, Mouhamed Ndiaye, Pape M Thior, Doudou Sene, Paul Milligan, Omar Gaye, David Schellenberg
Malaria Journal 2013 July 12, 12: 240

BACKGROUND: Despite recent advances in malaria diagnosis and treatment, many isolated communities in rural settings continue to lack access to these life-saving tools. Community-case management of malaria (CCMm), consisting of lay health workers (LHWs) using malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) in their villages, can address this disparity.

METHODS: This study examined routine reporting data from a CCMm programme between 2008 and 2011 in Saraya, a rural district in Senegal, and assessed its impact on timely access to rapid diagnostic tests and ACT.

RESULTS: There was a seven-fold increase in the number of LHWs providing care and in the number of patients seen. LHW engagement in the CCM programme varied seasonally, 24,3% of all patients prescribed an ACT had a negative RDT or were never administered an RDT, and less than half of patients with absolute indications for referral (severe symptoms, age under two months and pregnancy) were referred. There were few stock-outs.

DISCUSSION: This CCMm programme successfully increased the number of patients with access to RDT and ACT, but further investigation is required to identify the cause for over-prescription, and low rates of referrals for patients with absolute indications. In contrast, previous widespread stock-outs in Saraya's CCMm programme have now been resolved.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the potential for CCMm programmes to substantially increase access to life-saving malarial diagnostics and treatment, but also highlights important challenges in ensuring quality.

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