Performance evaluation of rapid diagnostic test for malaria in high malarious districts of Amhara region, Ethiopia


Background & objectives: Malaria is one of the leading public health challenges in Ethiopia. To address this, the Federal Ministry of Ethiopia launched a laboratory diagnosis programme for promoting use of either rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) or Giemsa microscopy to all suspected malaria cases. This study was conducted to assess the performance of RDT and influencing factors for Giemsa microscopic diagnosis in Amhara region. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 10 high burden malaria districts of Amhara region from 15 May to 15 June 2014. Data were collected using structured questionnaire. Blood samples were collected from 1000 malaria suspected cases in 10 health centers. RDT (SD BIOLINE) and Giemsa microscopy were performed as per standard procedures. Kappa value, logistic regression and chi-square test were used for statistical analysis. Results: The overall positivity rate (PR) of malaria parasites by RDT and Giemsa microscopy was 17.1 and 16.5% respectively. Compared to Giemsa microscopy as "gold standard", RDT showed 83.9% sensitivity and 96% specificity. The level of agreement between first reader and second reader for blood film microscopy was moderate (Kappa value = 0.74). Logistic regression showed that male, under five year of age and having fever more than 24 h prior to malaria diagnosis had statistically significant association with malaria positivity rate for malaria parasites. Interpretation & conclusion: The overall specificity and negative predictive values of RDT for malaria diagnosis were excellent. However, the sensitivity and positive predictive values of RDT were low. Therefore, in-service training, quality monitoring of RDTs, and adequate laboratory supplies for diagnostic services of malaria would be crucial for effective intervention measures

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