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Availability and price of malaria rapid diagnostic tests in the public and private health sectors in 2011: results from 10 nationally representative cross-sectional retail surveys.


Tropical Medicine & International Health

Category: Publications

Author: Poyer S, Shewchuk T, Tougher S, Ye Y; ACTwatch Group, Mann AG, Willey BA, Thomson R, Amuasi JH, Ren R, Wamukoya M, Taylor M, Nguah SB, Mberu B, Kalolella A, Juma E, Festo C, Johanes B, Diap G, Bruxvoort K, Ansong D, Hanson K, Arnold F, and Goodman C.

Published Date: 22 March 2015


Objectives: To describe the state of the public and private malaria diagnostics market shortly after WHO updated its guidelines for testing all suspected malaria cases prior to treatment.

Methods: Ten nationally representative cross-sectional cluster surveys were conducted in 2011 among public and private health facilities, community health workers and retail outlets (pharmacies and drug shops) in nine countries (Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar surveyed separately). Eligible outlets had antimalarials in stock on the day of interview or had stocked antimalarials in the past 3 months.

Results: Three thousand four hundred and thirty-nine rapid diagnostic test (RDT) products from 39 manufacturers were audited among 12,197 outlets interviewed. Availability was typically highest in public health facilities, although availability in these facilities varied greatly across countries, from 15% in Nigeria to >90% in Madagascar and Cambodia. Private for-profit sector availability was 46% in Cambodia, 20% in Zambia, but low in other countries. Median retail prices for RDTs in the private for-profit sector ranged from $0.00 in Madagascar to $3.13 in Zambia. The reported number of RDTs used in the 7 days before the survey in public health facilities ranged from 3 (Benin) to 50 (Zambia).

Conclusions: Eighteen months after WHO updated its case management guidelines, RDT availability remained poor in the private sector in sub-Saharan Africa. Given the ongoing importance of the private sector as a source of fever treatment, the goal of universal diagnosis will not be achievable under current circumstances. These results constitute national baselines against which progress in scaling-up diagnostic tests can be assessed.


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