Senior Lecturer and Researcher, Federal University Lokoja


Voice-Enabled Informatics Software for Correct Dosage Prescription&Validation of Anti-malarial drugs

Malaria is a public health menace consistently inherent in many Sub-Sahara African countries. With respect to medications; there are many issues of concern. These include: wrong diagnosis and wrong dosage administration of anti-malaria drugs on affected patients; Many complications have resulted ranging from severe headaches, stomach and body discomfort, blurred vision, dizziness, hallucinations, and in extreme cases, death.

Various informatics software have been developed to support different infectious and communicable disease diagnoses, but not certain of any yet, that have been specifically designed as a voice-enabled application to diagnose and translate malaria patients’ symptomatic data for pre-laboratory screening and correct prescription of correct dosage of the appropriate medication.

Malaria voice-enabled computational fuzzy informatics software for correct dosage prescription of anti-malarial drugs (Malavefes, henceforth) was developed using a cocktail of programming languages (Visual Basic.NET. and Java).

This work is novel and currently impacting the fields of drug informatics, malaria control, and bioinformatics.

It has sensitized and still sensitizing the public to the (i) dangers of self-medication of anti-malaria drugs (ii) wrong prescription of anti-malaria drugs by fake pharmacists; (iii) it has elucidated insight into the integration of voice-computing into informatics and bioinformatics tools to promote public health (iv) it has elucidated a new research direction in the development of voice-based/voice-enabled bioinformatics and informatics tools in indigenous African, European, Asian and American languages for promoting public health (v) it has opened up new opportunities for resource development in bioinformatics, and computational biology especially for malaria researchers. The user-experience and performance evaluation of Malavefes software was impressive.

Related reference: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319157817301064


Safety of artemether-lumefantrine exposure in first trimester of pregnancy: an observational cohort.

Abstract: There is limited data available regarding safety profile of artemisinins in early pregnancy. They are, therefore, not recommended by WHO as a first-line treatment for malaria in first trimester due to associated embryo-foetal toxicity in animal studies. The study assessed birth outcome among pregnant women inadvertently exposed to artemether-lumefantrine (AL) during first trimester in comparison to those of women exposed to other anti-malarial drugs or no drug at all during the same period of pregnancy.Pregnant women with gestational age <20 weeks were recruited from Maternal Health clinics or from monthly house visits (demographic surveillance), and followed prospectively until delivery.2167 pregnant women were recruited and 1783 (82.3%) completed the study until delivery. 319 (17.9%) used anti-malarials in first trimester, of whom 172 (53.9%) used (AL), 78 (24.4%) quinine, 66 (20.7%) sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) and 11 (3.4%) amodiaquine. Quinine exposure in first trimester was associated with an increased risk of miscarriage/stillbirth (OR 2.5; 1.3-5.1) and premature birth (OR 2.6; 1.3-5.3) as opposed to AL with (OR 1.4; 0.8-2.5) for miscarriage/stillbirth and (OR 0.9; 0.5-1.8) for preterm birth. Congenital anomalies were identified in 4 exposure groups namely AL only (1/164[0.6%]), quinine only (1/70[1.4%]), SP (2/66[3.0%]), and non-anti-malarial exposure group (19/1464[1.3%]).Exposure to AL in first trimester was more common than to any other anti-malarial drugs. Quinine exposure was associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes which was not the case following other anti-malarial intake. Since AL and quinine were used according to their availability rather than to disease severity, it is likely that the effect observed was related to the drug and not to the disease itself. Even with this caveat, a change of policy from quinine to AL for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria during the whole pregnancy period could be already envisaged.

Pub.: 03 Jun '14, Pinned: 04 Sep '17

Accessibility, availability and affordability of anti-malarials in a rural district in Kenya after implementation of a national subsidy scheme.

Abstract: Poor access to prompt and effective treatment for malaria contributes to high mortality and severe morbidity. In Kenya, it is estimated that only 12% of children receive anti-malarials for their fever within 24 hours. The first point of care for many fevers is a local medicine retailer, such as a pharmacy or chemist. The role of the medicine retailer as an important distribution point for malaria medicines has been recognized and several different strategies have been used to improve the services that these retailers provide. Despite these efforts, many mothers still purchase ineffective drugs because they are less expensive than effective artemisinin combination therapy (ACT). One strategy that is being piloted in several countries is an international subsidy targeted at anti-malarials supplied through the retail sector. The goal of this strategy is to make ACT as affordable as ineffective alternatives. The programme, called the Affordable Medicines Facility - malaria was rolled out in Kenya in August 2010.In December 2010, the affordability and accessibility of malaria medicines in a rural district in Kenya were evaluated using a complete census of all public and private facilities, chemists, pharmacists, and other malaria medicine retailers within the Webuye Demographic Surveillance Area. Availability, types, and prices of anti-malarials were assessed. There are 13 public or mission facilities and 97 medicine retailers (registered and unregistered).The average distance from a home to the nearest public health facility is 2 km, but the average distance to the nearest medicine retailer is half that. Quinine is the most frequently stocked anti-malarial (61% of retailers). More medicine retailers stocked sulphadoxine-pyramethamine (SP; 57%) than ACT (44%). Eleven percent of retailers stocked AMFm subsidized artemether-lumefantrine (AL). No retailers had chloroquine in stock and only five were selling artemisinin monotherapy. The mean price of any brand of AL, the recommended first-line drug in Kenya, was $2.7 USD. Brands purchased under the AMFm programme cost 40% less than non-AMFm brands. Artemisinin monotherapies cost on average more than twice as much as AMFm-brand AL. SP cost only $0.5, a fraction of the price of ACT.AMFm-subsidized anti-malarials are considerably less expensive than unsubsidized AL, but the price difference between effective and ineffective therapies is still large.

Pub.: 28 Oct '11, Pinned: 04 Sep '17

Does anti-malarial drug knowledge predict anti-malarial dispensing practice in drug outlets? A survey of medicine retailers in western Kenya.

Abstract: Malaria is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Kenya, where it is the fifth leading cause of death in both children and adults. Effectively managing malaria is dependent upon appropriate treatment. In Kenya, between 17 to 83 percent of febrile individuals first seek treatment for febrile illness over the counter from medicine retailers. Understanding medicine retailer knowledge and behaviour in treating suspected malaria and dispensing anti-malarials is crucial.To investigate medicine retailer knowledge about anti-malarials and their dispensing practices, a survey was conducted of all retail drug outlets that sell anti-malarial medications and serve residents of the Webuye Health and Demographic Surveillance Site in the Bungoma East District of western Kenya.Most of the medicine retailers surveyed (65%) were able to identify artemether-lumefantrine (AL) as the Kenyan Ministry of Health recommended first-line anti-malarial therapy for uncomplicated malaria. Retailers who correctly identified this treatment were also more likely to recommend AL to adult and paediatric customers. However, the proportion of medicine retailers who recommend the correct treatment is disappointingly low. Only 48% would recommend AL to adults, and 37% would recommend it to children. It was discovered that customer demand has an influence on retailer behaviour. Retailer training and education were found to be correlated with anti-malarial drug knowledge, which in turn is correlated with dispensing practices. Medicine retailer behaviour, including patient referral practice and dispensing practices, are also correlated with knowledge of the first-line anti-malarial medication. The Kenya Ministry of Health guidelines were found to influence retailer drug stocking and dispensing behaviours.Most medicine retailers could identify the recommended first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria, but the percentage that could not is still too high. Furthermore, knowing the MOH recommended anti-malarial medication does not always ensure it is recommended or dispensed to customers. Retailer training and education are both areas that could be improved. Considering the influence that patient demand has on retailer behaviour, future interventions focusing on community education may positively influence appropriate dispensing of anti-malarials.

Pub.: 08 Aug '12, Pinned: 04 Sep '17

Patterns of anti-malarial drug treatment among pregnant women in Uganda.

Abstract: Prompt use of an effective anti-malarial drug is essential for controlling malaria and its adverse effects in pregnancy. The World Health Organization recommends an artemisinin-based combination therapy as the first-line treatment of uncomplicated malaria in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. The study objective was to determine the degree to which presumed episodes of uncomplicated symptomatic malaria in pregnancy were treated with a recommended anti-malarial regimen in a region of Uganda.Utilizing a population-based random sample, we interviewed women living in Jinja, Uganda who had been pregnant in the past year.Self-reported malaria during the index pregnancy was reported among 67% (n = 334) of the 500 participants. Among the 637 self-reported episodes of malaria, an anti-malarial drug was used for treatment in 85% of the episodes. Use of a currently recommended treatment in the first trimester was uncommon (5.6%). A contraindicated anti-malarial drug (sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine and/or artemether-lumefantrine) was involved in 70% of first trimester episodes. Recommended anti-malarials were used according to the guidelines in only 30.1% of all second and third trimester episodes.Self-reported malaria was extremely common in this population and adherence to treatment guidelines for the management of malaria in pregnancy was poor. Use of artemether-lumefantrine combined with non-recommended anti-malarials was common practice. Overuse of anti-malarial drugs, especially ones that are no longer recommended, undermines malaria control efforts by fueling the spread of drug resistance and delaying appropriate treatment of non-malarial febrile illnesses. Improved diagnostic capacity is essential to ultimately improving the management of malaria-like symptoms during pregnancy and appropriate use of currently available anti-malarials.

Pub.: 08 Jun '11, Pinned: 04 Sep '17

Self-reported use of anti-malarial drugs and health facility management of malaria in Ghana.

Abstract: To assess the appropriateness of self-reported use of anti-malarial drugs prior to health facility attendance, and the management of malaria in two health facilities in Ghana.A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 500 respondents who were diagnosed clinically and/or parasitologically for malaria at Agogo Presbyterian Hospital and Suntreso Polyclinic, both in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Collected information included previous use of anti-malarial drugs prior to attending the health facilities, types of drugs used, how the drugs were used, and the sources of the drugs. In addition, the anti-malarial therapy given and outcomes at the two health facilities were assessed.Of the 500 patients interviewed, 17% had severe malaria, 8% had moderate to severe malaria and 75% had uncomplicated malaria. Forty three percent of the respondents had taken anti-malarial drugs within two weeks prior to hospital attendance. The most commonly used anti-malarials were chloroquine (76%), sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (9%), herbal preparations (9%) and amodiaquine (6%). The sources of these medicines were licensed chemical sellers (50%), pharmacies (21%), neighbouring clinics (9%) or "other" sources (20%) including left-over medicines at home. One hundred and sixty three (77%) of the 213 patients who had used anti-malarial drugs prior to attending the health facilities, used the drugs inappropriately. At the health facilities, the anti-malarials were prescribed and used according to the national standard treatment guidelines with good outcomes.Prevalence of inappropriate use of anti-malarials in the community in Ghana is high. There is need for enhanced public health education on home-based management of malaria and training for workers in medicine supply outlets to ensure effective use of anti-malaria drugs in the country.

Pub.: 04 Jul '07, Pinned: 04 Sep '17

The use of non-prescribed anti-malarial drugs for the treatment of malaria in the Bolgatanga municipality, northern Ghana.

Abstract: The use of non-prescribed anti-malarial drugs can lead to treatment failure and development of drug-resistant parasites. This study investigated the use of non-prescribed anti-malarial drugs for the treatment of malaria in the Bolgatanga Municipality of northern Ghana.This was a cross-sectional survey of a random sample of 392 adults and children with episodes of malaria in the last four weeks prior to the study.Majority of survey respondents 96.9% (380) knew the symptoms of malaria, 75% (294) knew the causes of malaria and 93.1% (365) were aware of mode of transmission of malaria. The use of non-prescribed anti-malarial drugs was 16.8% (95% CI: 13.3-21.0) among the respondents. About 56% (95% CI: 43.3-68.3) of the respondents who took non-prescribed anti-malaria drugs took non-artemisinin-based combination therapy (chloroquine, artemether, amodiaquine and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine). Respondents above five years of age were more likely to use non-prescribed anti-malarial drugs than those below five years of age [P < 0.001]; respondents who knew the right source of malaria treatment were less likely to use non-prescribed anti-malarial drugs than those who did not [P = 0.002]. Respondents using non-prescribed anti-malarials were influenced by people around them who used non-prescribed anti-malarials. Thus, these respondents were more likely to use non-prescribed anti-malarials than those who were not influenced [P = 0.004].Respondents' knowledge of malaria treatment and the influence of people using non-prescribed anti-malarials are factors affecting use of non-prescribed anti-malarials. The study concludes that there is high use of non-prescribed anti-malarial drugs in the municipality and most of the non-prescribed anti-malarias were non-artemisinin-based combination therapy. The study recommends education of the general public and chemical sellers to reduce the use of non-prescribe anti-malaria drugs.

Pub.: 02 Aug '13, Pinned: 04 Sep '17

Knowledge and behaviour as determinants of anti-malarial drug use in a peri-urban population from malaria holoendemic region of western Kenya.

Abstract: The appropriate use of anti-malarial drugs determines therapeutic efficacy and the emergence and spread of drug-resistant malaria. Strategies for improving drug compliance require accurate information about current practices at the consumer level. This is to ascertain that the currently applied new combination therapy to malaria treatment will achieve sustained cure rates and protection against parasite resistance. Therefore, this cross-sectional study was designed to determine knowledge and behaviour of the consumers in households (n = 397) in peri-urban location in a malaria holoendemic region of western Kenya.The knowledge and behaviour associated with anti-malarial use were evaluated. Using clusters, a questionnaire was administered to a particular household member who had the most recent malaria episode (within <2 weeks) and used an anti-malarial for cure. Mothers/caretakers provided information for children aged <13 years.Consumers' knowledge on dosage and duration/frequency demonstrated that only 29.4% used the correct artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) dosage. Most respondents who used quinine identified the correct duration of use (96.4%) since its administration was entirely at health facilities. To assess behaviours during use of anti-malarial drugs, respondents were stratified into those who took drugs with prescription (39.4%) and without prescription (61.6%). For those without prescription, the reasons given were; procedure of acquisition less costly (39.0%), took same drug for similar symptoms (23.0%), not satisfied with health services (15.5%), neighbour/friend/relative previously taken the same drug (12.5%) and health institution was far from their location (10%).Majority of consumers in the study area were knowledgeable on the symptoms of malaria. In addition, majority acquired ineffective anti-malarial drugs for treatment and reported sub-optimal treatment regimens with the currently recommended drugs. Furthermore, behaviours which constrain the successful up-scaling of ACT were common, creating a challenge in the desire to turn efficacy to effectiveness of the combination therapy programme. It will be important to direct and focus interventions in creating awareness on the importance of using recommended drugs to lessen the use of less efficacious anti-malarials. In addition, the consumers need to be educated on the importance of drug adherence in such areas to reduce the emergence and spread of drug-resistant malaria.

Pub.: 22 Apr '11, Pinned: 04 Sep '17

Evidence of successful malaria case management policy implementation in Cambodia: results from national ACTwatch outlet surveys.

Abstract: For over a decade, Cambodia has implemented a number of policies and innovative strategies to increase access to quality malaria case management services and address the drivers of multi-drug resistance. This paper utilizes outlet survey trend data collected by the ACTwatch project to demonstrate how changes in Cambodian policy and strategies have led to shifts in anti-malarial markets.Anti-malarial ACTwatch outlet surveys were conducted in Cambodia in 2009 (June-July), 2011 (June-August) and 2013 (September-October). A census of all outlets with the potential to sell or distribute anti-malarials was conducted within a nationally representative sample of communes. Drug information, sales/distribution in the previous week, and retail price were collected for each anti-malarial in stock. Information on availability of malaria blood testing was also collected.A total of 7833 outlets were enumerated in 2009, 18,584 in 2011, and 16,153 in 2013. The percentage of public health facilities with at least one anti-malarial in stock on the day of the survey increased between 2009 (65.8 %) and 2011 (90.0 %) and remained high in 2013 (82.0 %). Similar trends were found for village malaria workers (VMW). Overall, private sector availability of anti-malarials declined over time and varied by outlet type. By 2013 most anti-malarial stocking public health facilities (81.5 %), VMW (95.4 %), private for-profit health facilities (64.8 %), and pharmacies (71.9 %) had the countries first-line artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) treatment in stock. In 2013, 60 % of anti-malarials were delivered through the private sector, 40 % through the public sector, and the most common anti-malarial to be sold or distributed was the first-line ACT, comprising 62.8 % of the national market share. Oral artemisinin monotherapy, which had accounted for 6 % of total anti-malarial market share in 2009, was no longer reportedly sold/distributed in 2013. Malaria blood testing availability remained high over time among public facilities and VMW, with availability over 90 % in 2011 and 2013. Moderate availability was observed in the private sector.Continued implementation of successful public and private sector strategies in support of evolving malaria drug treatment policies will be important to protect the efficacy of anti-malarial medicines and ultimately facilitate malaria elimination in Cambodia by 2025.

Pub.: 10 Apr '16, Pinned: 04 Sep '17

Finding parasites and finding challenges: improved diagnostic access and trends in reported malaria and anti-malarial drug use in Livingstone district, Zambia.

Abstract: Understanding the impact of malaria rapid diagnostic test (RDT) use on management of acute febrile disease at a community level, and on the consumption of anti-malarial medicines, is critical to the planning and success of scale-up to universal parasite-based diagnosis by health systems in malaria-endemic countries.A retrospective study of district-wide community-level RDT introduction was conducted in Livingstone District, Zambia, to assess the impact of this programmed on malaria reporting, incidence of mortality and on district anti-malarial consumption.Reported malaria declined from 12,186 cases in the quarter prior to RDT introduction in 2007 to an average of 12.25 confirmed and 294 unconfirmed malaria cases per quarter over the year to September 2009. Reported malaria-like fever also declined, with only 4,381 RDTs being consumed per quarter over the same year. Reported malaria mortality declined to zero in the year to September 2009, and all-cause mortality declined. Consumption of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) dropped dramatically, but remained above reported malaria, declining from 12,550 courses dispensed by the district office in the quarter prior to RDT implementation to an average of 822 per quarter over the last year. Quinine consumption in health centres also declined, with the district office ceasing to supply due to low usage, but requests for sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) rose to well above previous levels, suggesting substitution of ACT with this drug in RDT-negative cases.RDT introduction led to a large decline in reported malaria cases and in ACT consumption in Livingstone district. Reported malaria mortality declined to zero, indicating safety of the new diagnostic regime, although adherence and/or use of RDTs was still incomplete. However, a deficiency is apparent in management of non-malarial fever, with inappropriate use of a low-cost single dose drug, SP, replacing ACT. While large gains have been achieved, the full potential of RDTs will only be realized when strategies can be put in place to better manage RDT-negative cases.

Pub.: 10 Oct '12, Pinned: 04 Sep '17

Health workers' use of malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) to guide clinical decision making in rural dispensaries, Tanzania.

Abstract: Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) were developed as an alternative to microscopy for malaria diagnosis. The RDTs detect malaria parasite antigen(s) in whole blood with high sensitivity and specificity. We assessed health worker malaria treatment practices after the introduction of RDTs in peripheral health facilities without microscopy. From December 2007 to October 2008, we introduced histidine-rich protein II (HRP-2)-based ParaHIT RDTs for routine use in 12 health facilities in Rufiji District, Tanzania. Health workers received training on how to perform RDTs for patients 5 years of age or older with fever or suspected malaria. Children < 5 years of age were to be treated empirically per national guidelines. Among the 30,195 patients seen at these 12 health facilities, 10,737 (35.6%) were tested with an RDT for malaria. 88.3% (9,405/10,648) of tested patients reported fever or history of fever and 2.7% (289/10,677) of all tested individuals were children < 5 years of age. The RDT results were recorded for 10,650 patients (99.2%). Among the 5,488 (51.5%) RDT-positive patients, 5,256 (98.6%) were treated with an appropriate first-line antimalarial per national guidelines (artemether-lumefantrine or quinine). Among the 5,162 RDT-negative patients, only 205 (4.0%) were treated with an antimalarial. Other reported treatments included antibiotics and antipyretics. Implementation of RDTs in rural health facilities resulted in high adherence to national treatment guidelines. Patients testing negative by RDT were rarely treated with antimalarials. Unapproved antimalarials were seldom used. Health workers continued to follow guidelines for the empiric treatment of febrile children.

Pub.: 02 Dec '10, Pinned: 04 Sep '17

Major reduction in anti-malarial drug consumption in Senegal after nation-wide introduction of malaria rapid diagnostic tests.

Abstract: While WHO recently recommended universal parasitological confirmation of suspected malaria prior to treatment, debate has continued as to whether wide-scale use of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) can achieve this goal. Adherence of health service personnel to RDT results has been poor in some settings, with little impact on anti-malarial drug consumption. The Senegal national malaria control programme introduced universal parasite-based diagnosis using malaria RDTs from late 2007 in all public health facilities. This paper assesses the impact of this programme on anti-malarial drug consumption and disease reporting.Nationally-collated programme data from 2007 to 2009 including malaria diagnostic outcomes, prescription of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) and consumption of RDTs in public health facilities, were reviewed and compared. Against a marked seasonal variation in all-cause out-patient visits, non-malarial fever and confirmed malaria, parasite-based diagnosis increased nationally from 3.9% of reported malaria-like febrile illness to 86.0% over a 3 year period. The prescription of ACT dropped throughout this period from 72.9% of malaria-like febrile illness to 31.5%, reaching close equivalence to confirmed malaria (29.9% of 584,873 suspect fever cases). An estimated 516,576 courses of inappropriate ACT prescription were averted.The data indicate high adherence of anti-malarial prescribing practice to RDT results after an initial run-in period. The large reduction in ACT consumption enabled by the move from symptom-based to parasite-based diagnosis demonstrates that effective roll-out and use of malaria RDTs is achievable on a national scale through well planned and structured implementation. While more detailed information on management of parasite-negative cases is required at point of care level to assess overall cost-benefits to the health sector, considerable cost-savings were achieved in ACT procurement. Programmes need to be allowed flexibility in management of these funds to address increases in other programmatic costs that may accrue from improved diagnosis of febrile disease.

Pub.: 16 Apr '11, Pinned: 20 Aug '17

Availability and quality of anti-malarials among private sector outlets in Myanmar in 2012: results from a large, community-based, cross-sectional survey before a large-scale intervention.

Abstract: Global malaria control efforts are threatened by the spread and emergence of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum parasites. In 2012, the widespread sale of partial courses of artemisinin-based monotherapy was suspected to take place in the highly accessed, weakly regulated private sector in Myanmar, posing potentially major threats to drug resistance. This study investigated the presence of artemisinin-based monotherapies in the Myanmar private sector, particularly as partial courses of therapy, to inform the targeting of future interventions to stop artemisinin resistance.A large cross-sectional survey comprised of a screening questionnaire was conducted across 26 townships in Myanmar between March and May, 2012. For outlets that stocked anti-malarials at the time of survey, a stock audit was conducted, and for outlets that stocked anti-malarials within 3 months of the survey, a provider survey was conducted.A total of 3,658 outlets were screened, 83% were retailers (pharmacies, itinerant drug vendors and general retailers) and 17% were healthcare providers (private facilities and health workers). Of the 3,658 outlets screened, 1,359 outlets (32%) stocked at least one anti-malarial at the time of study. Oral artemisinin-based monotherapy comprised of 33% of self-reported anti-malarials dispensing volumes found. The vast majority of artemisinin-based monotherapy was sold by retailers, where 63% confirmed that they sold partial courses of therapy by cutting blister packets. Very few retailers (5%) had malaria rapid diagnostic tests available, and quality-assured artemisinin-based combination therapy was virtually nonexistent among retailers.Informal private pharmacies, itinerant drug vendors and general retailers should be targeted for interventions to improve malaria treatment practices in Myanmar, particularly those that threaten the emergence and spread of artemisinin resistance.

Pub.: 15 Jul '15, Pinned: 20 Aug '17

Got ACTs? Availability, price, market share and provider knowledge of anti-malarial medicines in public and private sector outlets in six malaria-endemic countries.

Abstract: Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is the first-line malaria treatment throughout most of the malaria-endemic world. Data on ACT availability, price and market share are needed to provide a firm evidence base from which to assess the current situation concerning quality-assured ACT supply. This paper presents supply side data from ACTwatch outlet surveys in Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Madagascar, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia.Between March 2009 and June 2010, nationally representative surveys of outlets providing anti-malarials to consumers were conducted. A census of all outlets with the potential to provide anti-malarials was conducted in clusters sampled randomly.28,263 outlets were censused, 51,158 anti-malarials were audited, and 9,118 providers interviewed. The proportion of public health facilities with at least one first-line quality-assured ACT in stock ranged between 43% and 85%. Among private sector outlets stocking at least one anti-malarial, non-artemisinin therapies, such as chloroquine and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine, were widely available (> 95% of outlets) as compared to first-line quality-assured ACT (< 25%). In the public/not-for-profit sector, first-line quality-assured ACT was available for free in all countries except Benin and the DRC (US$1.29 [Inter Quartile Range (IQR): $1.29-$1.29] and $0.52[IQR: $0.00-$1.29] per adult equivalent dose respectively). In the private sector, first-line quality-assured ACT was 5-24 times more expensive than non-artemisinin therapies. The exception was Madagascar where, due to national social marketing of subsidized ACT, the price of first-line quality-assured ACT ($0.14 [IQR: $0.10, $0.57]) was significantly lower than the most popular treatment (chloroquine, $0.36 [IQR: $0.36, $0.36]). Quality-assured ACT accounted for less than 25% of total anti-malarial volumes; private-sector quality-assured ACT volumes represented less than 6% of the total market share. Most anti-malarials were distributed through the private sector, but often comprised non-artemisinin therapies, and in the DRC and Nigeria, oral artemisinin monotherapies. Provider knowledge of the first-line treatment was significantly lower in the private sector than in the public/not-for-profit sector.These standardized, nationally representative results demonstrate the typically low availability, low market share and high prices of ACT, in the private sector where most anti-malarials are accessed, with some exceptions. The results confirm that there is substantial room to improve availability and affordability of ACT treatment in the surveyed countries. The data will also be useful for monitoring the impact of interventions such as the Affordable Medicines Facility for malaria.

Pub.: 02 Nov '11, Pinned: 20 Aug '17

Factors associated with non-adherence to Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) to malaria in a rural population from holoendemic region of western Kenya.

Abstract: Over the years, reports implicate improper anti-malarial use as a major contributor of morbidity and mortality amongst millions of residents in malaria endemic areas, Kenya included. However, there are limited reports on improper use of Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) which is a first-line drug in the treatment of malaria in Kenya. Knowing this is important for ensured sustainable cure rates and also protection against the emergence of resistant malarial parasites. We therefore investigated ACT adherence level, factors associated with non-adherence and accessibility in households (n = 297) in rural location of Southeast Alego location in Siaya County in western Kenya.ACT Adherence level was assessed with reference to the duration of treatment and number of tablets taken. Using systematic random sampling technique, a questionnaire was administered to a particular household member who had the most recent malaria episode (<2 weeks) and used ACT for cure. Parents/caretakers provided information for children aged <13 years. Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) were also conducted with healthcare providers and private dispensing chemist operators.Adherence to ACT prescription remained low at 42.1% and 57.9% among individuals above 13 and less than 13 years, respectively. Stratification by demographic and socio-economic characteristics in relation to ACT adherence revealed that age (P = 0.011), education level (P < 0.01), ability to read (P < 0.01) and household (HH) monthly income (P = 0.002) significantly affected the level of ACT adherence. Consistently, logistic regression model demonstrated that low age (OR, 0.571, 95% CI, 0.360-0.905; P = 0.017), higher education level (OR, 0.074; 95% CI 0.017-0.322; P < 0.01), ability to read (OR, 0.285, 95% CI, 0.167-0.486; P < 0.01) and higher income (Ksh. > 9000; OR, 0.340; 95% CI, 0.167-0.694; P = 0.003) were associated with ACT adherence. In addition, about 52.9% of the respondents reported that ACT was not always available at the source and that drug availability (P = 0.020) and distance to drug source (P < 0.01) significantly affected accessibility.This study demonstrates that more than half of those who get ACT prescription do not take recommended dose and that accessibility is of concern. The findings of this study suggest a potential need to improve accessibility and also initiate programmatic interventions to encourage patient-centred care.

Pub.: 26 Jun '12, Pinned: 20 Aug '17

Case management of malaria fever in Cambodia: results from national anti-malarial outlet and household surveys.

Abstract: Continued progress towards global reduction in morbidity and mortality due to malaria requires scale-up of effective case management with artemisinin-combination therapy (ACT). The first case of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum was documented in western Cambodia. Spread of artemisinin resistance would threaten recent gains in global malaria control. As such, the anti-malarial market and malaria case management practices in Cambodia have global significance.Nationally-representative household and outlet surveys were conducted in 2009 among areas in Cambodia with malaria risk. An anti-malarial audit was conducted among all public and private outlets with the potential to sell anti-malarials. Indicators on availability, price and relative volumes sold/distributed were calculated across types of anti-malarials and outlets. The household survey collected information about management of recent "malaria fevers." Case management in the public versus private sector, and anti-malarial treatment based on malaria diagnostic testing were examined.Most public outlets (85%) and nearly half of private pharmacies, clinics and drug stores stock ACT. Oral artemisinin monotherapy was found in pharmacies/clinics (9%), drug stores (14%), mobile providers (4%) and grocery stores (2%). Among total anti-malarial volumes sold/distributed nationally, 6% are artemisinin monotherapies and 72% are ACT. Only 45% of people with recent "malaria fever" reportedly receive a diagnostic test, and the most common treatment acquired is a drug cocktail containing no identifiable anti-malarial. A self-reported positive diagnostic test, particularly when received in the public sector, improves likelihood of receiving anti-malarial treatment. Nonetheless, anti-malarial treatment of reportedly positive cases is low among people who seek treatment exclusively in the public (61%) and private (42%) sectors.While data on the anti-malarial market shows favourable progress towards replacing artemisinin monotherapies with ACT, the widespread use of drug cocktails to treat malaria is a barrier to effective case management. Significant achievements have been made in availability of diagnostic testing and effective treatment in the public and private sectors. However, interventions to improve case management are urgently required, particularly in the private sector. Evidence-based interventions that target provider and consumer behaviour are needed to support uptake of diagnostic testing and treatment with full-course first-line anti-malarials.

Pub.: 02 Nov '11, Pinned: 20 Aug '17

Factors determining anti-malarial drug use in a peri-urban population from malaria holoendemic region of western Kenya.

Abstract: Interventions to reverse trends in malaria-related morbidity and mortality in Kenya focus on preventive strategies and drug efficacy. However, the pattern of use of anti-malarials in malaria-endemic populations, such as in western Kenya, is still poorly understood. It is critical to understand the patterns of anti-malarial drug use to ascertain that the currently applied new combination therapy to malaria treatment, will achieve sustained cure rates and protection against parasite resistance. Therefore, this cross-sectional study was designed to determine the patterns of use of anti-malarial drugs in households (n = 397) in peri-urban location of Manyatta-B sub-location in Kisumu in western Kenya.Household factors, associated with the pattern of anti-malarials use, were evaluated. Using clusters, questionnaire was administered to a particular household member who had the most recent malaria episode (within <2 weeks) and used an anti-malarial for cure. Mothers/caretakers provided information for children aged <13 years.Stratification of the type of anti-malarial drugs taken revealed that 37.0% used sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine (SP), 32.0% artemisinin-based combined therapy (ACT), 11.1% anti-pyretics, 7.3% chloroquine (CQ), 7.1% quinine, 2.5% amodiaquine (AQ), while 3.0% used others which were perceived as anti-malarials (cough syrups and antibiotics). In a regression model, it was demonstrated that age (P = 0.050), household size (P = 0.047), household head (P = 0.049), household source of income (P = 0.015), monthly income (P = 0.020), duration of use (P = 0.029), dosage of drugs taken (P = 0.036), and source of drugs (P = 0.005) significantly influenced anti-malarial drug use. Overall, 38.8% of respondents used drugs as recommended by the Ministry of Health.This study demonstrates that consumers require access to correct and comprehensible information associated with use of drugs, including self-prescription. There is potential need by the Kenyan government to improve malaria care and decrease malaria-related morbidity and mortality by increasing drug affordability, ensuring that the recommended anti-malarial drugs are easily available in all government approved drug outlets and educates the local shopkeepers on the symptoms and appropriate treatment of malaria. Following a switch to ACT in national drug policy, education on awareness and behaviour change is recommended, since the efficacy of ACT alone is not sufficient to reduce morbidity and mortality due to malaria.

Pub.: 28 Oct '10, Pinned: 20 Aug '17