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Trends in reported malaria cases and the effects of malaria control in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Lechthaler, Filippo and Matthys, Barbara and Lechthaler-Felber, Giulia and Likwela, Joris Losimba and Mavoko, Hypolite Muhindo and Rika, Junior Matangila and Mutombo, Meschac Mutombo and Ruckstuhl, Laura and Barczyk, Joanna and Shargie, Estifanos and Prytherch, Helen and Lengeler, Christian. (2019) Trends in reported malaria cases and the effects of malaria control in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. PLoS ONE, 14 (7). e0219853.

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Abstract

Considerable upscaling of malaria control efforts have taken place over the last 15 years in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country with the second highest malaria case load after Nigeria. Malaria control interventions have been strengthened in line with the Millenium Development Goals. We analysed the effects of these interventions on malaria cases at health facility level, using a retrospective trend analysis of malaria cases between 2005 and 2014. Data were collected from outpatient and laboratory registers based on a sample of 175 health facilities that represents all eco-epidemiological malaria settings across the country.; We applied a time series analysis to assess trends of suspected and confirmed malaria cases, by health province and for different age groups. A linear panel regression model controlled for non-malaria outpatient cases, rain fall, nightlight intensity, health province and time fixed effects, was used to examine the relationship between the interventions and malaria case occurrences, as well as test positivity rates.; Overall, recorded suspected and confirmed malaria cases in the DRC have increased. The sharp increase in confirmed cases from 2010 coincides with the introduction of the new treatment policy and the resulting scale-up of diagnostic testing. Controlling for confounding factors, the introduction of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) was significantly associated with the number of tested and confirmed cases. The test positivity rate fluctuated around 40% without showing any trend.; The sharp increase in confirmed malaria cases from 2010 is unlikely to be due to a resurgence of malaria, but is clearly associated with improved diagnostic availability, mainly the introduction of RDTs. Before that, a great part of malaria cases were treated based on clinical suspicion. This finding points to a better detection of cases that potentially contributed to improved case management. Furthermore, the expansion of diagnostic testing along with the increase in confirmed cases implies that before 2010, cases were underreported, and that the accuracy of routine data to describe malaria incidence has improved.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Health Interventions > Malaria Interventions (Lengeler)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Swiss Centre for International Health > Health Systems Support (Prytherch)
UniBasel Contributors:Lechthaler, Filippo and Matthys, Barbara and Prytherch, Helen and Lengeler, Christian and Ruckstuhl, Laura
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Public Library of Science
e-ISSN:1932-6203
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
Identification Number:
Last Modified:30 Jul 2019 08:35
Deposited On:30 Jul 2019 08:35

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