|Malaria Diagnosis: New Perspectives (WHO - OMS, 2000, 57 p.)|
RDTs have introduced a new dimension to the diagnosis and treatment of malaria. They now permit, among other things, on-the-spot confirmatory diagnosis of malaria at the periphery of the health care system, by health workers with minimal training. The rational use of RDTs as a complement to microscopy might give substantial health benefits (a) through earlier treatment and a consequent reduction in morbidity and mortality, (b) by targeting expensive drugs and drug combinations to high risk populations in multidrug resistant areas and (c) through a more rational use of drugs that might effectively reduce drug pressure and possibly delay the progress of drug resistance. Nevertheless, RDTs are unlikely to be widely adopted until their detection capacities have been improved, their potential benefits have been confirmed, and their cost has come closer to what most national malaria programmes can afford.
Addressing these issues, and ensuring the optimal use of RDTs as a key tool in malaria control, will require a coordinated effort among users, control programmes, manufacturers and international agencies.