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Free Content Short Communication: An assessment of the use of malaria rapid tests by village health volunteers in rural Laos

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Rapid malaria diagnosis, a key component of malaria control strategies, is hampered by the expense and training requirements of reliable microscopy. Rapid malaria antigen tests may improve the diagnosis of malaria in the rural tropics. After 1 h training 64 village health volunteers (VHVs) from rural Laos, with no previous laboratory experience, performed two malaria rapid diagnostic tests (ParacheckPfTM and OptiMALTM) accurately. The reliability of six VHVs was assessed longitudinally, over 10 months with different frequencies of retraining. Compared with microscopy, error rates in dipstick interpretation were low (<2%) for both tests and were not associated with retraining frequency (P > 0.2). Previously untrained Lao VHVs performed malaria rapid tests reliably with high sensitivity and specificity after minimal training.
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Keywords: Laos; cost; diagnosis; malaria; rapid malaria tests; village health volunteers

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1:  Provincial Malaria Station, Savannakhet, Lao People's Democratic Republic 2:  Centre of Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology, Ministry of Health, Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic

Publication date: 2004-03-01

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