Early diagnosis and treatment

A key challenge to malaria control in the Greater Mekong Sub-region is proper diagnosis and treatment. Ensuring proper treatment adherence is challenged by self-medication and poor quality of treatment, particularly in the unregulated private sector. There is a high prevalence of counterfeit and substandard antimalarial medicines which can cause death, reduce confidence in malaria treatment, and increase drug resistance. Border regions are particularly vulnerable to trafficking of counterfeit or substandard drugs. CAP-Malaria works with all stakeholders in the health system to strengthen delivery of high quality malaria services. The project works with national malaria control programs to ensure that malaria treatment policy are defined based on surveillance of drug efficacy and guidelines are communicated in a timely manner to the public and private sectors. One of the limitations to ensuring access to early diagnosis and effective treatment is the lack of adequately trained, motivated human resources in public health. The project strengthens networks of village malaria workers and links them with the public health system for improved service provision and monitoring of cases. CAP-Malaria also provides training and job aids to health providers for case management, including severe malaria management. The project improves laboratory services and supports their involvement in the national quality assurance system. CAP-Malaria also works with private providers, pharmacists and drug outlets to improve use of correct drugs, identify spurious drugs, and give appropriate referrals when needed. In particular, the project focuses on border areas with high a high burden of malaria. Malaria morbidity and mortality is exacerbated by mobile populations (e.g. internally displaced populations and refugees) and cross-border movement. When non-immune individuals move to areas with high malaria transmission, the resulting effects in terms of both illness and death rates can be devastating. CAP-Malaria works closely with national malaria control programs to identify priority geographic areas for high-intensity interventions.

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