Universal access to malaria diagnostic testing – An operational manual
November 2011 (rev. February 2013)
In 2010, WHO recommended that all suspected cases of malaria be confirmed with a diagnostic test prior to treatment. Recent 2011 resolutions on malaria from the UN General Assembly and the World Health Assembly have highlighted the importance of malaria diagnostic testing in reaching 2015 goals. The Roll Back Malaria Partnership has set new targets of universal access to malaria diagnostic testing in public and private sectors as well as at the community level. The scaling up of diagnostic testing is critical to ensuring good management of malaria and non-malarial febrile illnesses, targeting antimalarial medicines (ACTs) to those who actually need them, curbing the threat of artemisinin resistance, and providing data for accurate malaria surveillance.
This operational manual, developed by WHO in collaboration with 14 other institutions, provides practical guidance to national malaria control programme managers and other stakeholders for rapidly increasing access to malaria diagnostic testing with RDT and microscopy in malaria endemic countries. It includes the core elements of policy setting, strategy development, and planning as well as practical tools to deploy malaria diagnostic testing at all levels of the health care system, including the community. The manual emphasizes full integration of malaria diagnostic testing in the clinical management of febrile illnesses and the contribution to overall efforts in strengthening laboratory services. It provides strong emphasis on quality management systems and the need for supervision, and clear guidance on roles of both RDT and microscopy for different clinical situations and settings, recognizing that in most countries both tests are needed.