Malaria rapid diagnostic tests

Rapid diagnostic testing in Liberia
Sarah Hoibak/ MENTOR

Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) assist in the diagnosis of malaria by detecting evidence of malaria parasites (antigens) in human blood. RDTs permit a reliable detection of malaria infections particularly in remote areas with limited access to good quality microscopy services. This site provides information and guidance to malaria control programmes and health services, test kit manufacturers as well as organizations and individuals considering the use of RDTs.

What are RDTs


WHO recommends prompt parasite-based diagnosis in all patients suspected of malaria.

The role of RDTs in malaria control

RDTs can assist in making a rapid, accurate diagnosis.

How malaria RDTs work

Variations occur between products but the principles are similar.

Procuring and implementing RDTs

Selecting and procuring RDTs

Basic principles of good procurement can help secure reliable malaria RDTs.

Developing an RDT implementation plan

A sound implementation plan is composed of several essential elements.

Malaria RDTs in the private sector

The lack of availability of quality RDTs in the private sector remains a problem.

Quality assurance and control

WHO-FIND RDT malaria RDT evaluation programme including product and lot testing

Since 2002, WHO has developed and has been supporting an international programme to quality control malaria RDTs and generating data to inform RDT procurement and field deployment.

RDTs: suggested use of terms, labelling and instructions for use

Uniform, easy to follow and consistent terminology and labelling, aligned with international standards and appropriate for the level of the end user’s education and training, is crucial.

Field trials

Malaria RDTs are designed for malaria endemic areas beyond the reach of good-quality microscopy. Field trials are helpful to confirm that high levels of performance observed in the laboratory are maintained in the field.

Key publications

Contact us

Global Malaria Programme
World Health Organization
20 Avenue Appia
1211 Geneva 27