In the last decade, millions of malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) have been implemented worldwide. These simple and easy-to-use tests diagnose malaria from blood samples in about 15 minutes at all levels of the health care system.
While the tests have enabled better access to malaria diagnosis, many challenges still remain. In an effort to address these and other challenges with the delivery of RDTs, GHDonline.org is hosting a three-session discussion led by experts from July 5 to July 20.
Experts will lead discussions on the external factors affect test performance, such as high temperatures, disease prevalence, and user training. They will cover the challenges of maintaining a consistent RDT supply chain when facing volatility in funding and procurement processes, and also problems with physicians not always believing the test results and prescribing anti-malarial treatment anyway.
Here is an overview of the panel schedule:
Session 1 (July 5 to July 10) will address the RDT test and the challenges with interpreting test results in context. What factors can influence the test quality and accuracy and how should these be addressed? Why are quality assurance/quality control programs important in RDTs? Expert panelists leading the discussion in this session include:
- Rosanna Peeling PhD, Chair and Professor of Diagnostics Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Prior to joining the faculty at LSHTM, she was head of Diagnostics Research at the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Program on Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR).
- Sandra Incardona, the Technical Officer for Malaria Diagnostics at the Foundation for Innovative and New Diagnostics in Geneva, Switzerland.
Session 2 (July 11 to 14) will highlight challenges with RDTs and health care provider behavior. How have RDTs impacted health provider behavior? What are the implications of “test and treat” guidelines versus presumptive treatment? What do you do when the test is negative? Why is training important to rapid tests? Expert panelists leading the discussion in this session include:
- Wellington Oyibo, an Associate Professor in the College of Medicine at the University of Lagos, Nigeria
- Innocent Ali MSc, is a Poverty Related Diseases Fellow and PhD candidate at the Univeristy of Yaounde I in Cameroon
- Roger Peck, Technical Officer, Immunodiagnostics Portfolio Leader, PATH
Session 3 (July 15 to 20) will focus on policy issues including the assessment, procurement, and financing of RDTs. What regulatory approval should be required? What are challenges to successful implementation? Are RDTs cost-effective? How and where should they be integrated into existing systems? Expert panelists leading the discussion in this session include:
- Larry Barat, Senior Malaria Advisor at the USAID/President’s Malaria Initiative
- Paul Stannard, Deputy Director of Procurement, USAID/Deliver Project
- Megan Moynahan, Senior Advisor for Innovation, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, FDA
Please join us for a comprehensive discussion on malaria RDTs.