Rapid, accurate and accessible detection of malaria parasites is important in the prevention and treatment of malaria. Malaria morbidity, mortality and transmission can be reduced if prompt diagnosis and adequate treatment is available.
Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) offer the potential to provide accurate and timely diagnosis to everyone at risk, reaching those previously unable to access good quality microscopy services. In malaria-endemic regions, the use of RDTs is very helpful for the effective use of anti-malarial drugs, as treatment is based on parasite diagnosis and not just fever alone.
UNICEF has Long Term Arrangements with suppliers of Malaria RDTs. The potential suppliers are aligned with the WHO - FIND Malaria RDT Evaluation Programme, a programme for RDT quality assurance. Results of this product testing of Malaria RDTs are published and updated periodically. An interactive product selection tool, developed by the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) is available on-line: the mRDT interactive web-based guide .
The WHO publication 'Good Practices for Selecting and Procuring Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Malaria' gives guidance for the selection and procurement of quality-assured malaria RDTs, providing checklists and covering technical issues. The operational manual UNIVERSAL ACCESS to Malaria Diagnostic Testing , revised version February 2013, provides critically useful information to National Malaria Control Programmes and their partners; supporting the efforts to reach the health-related Millennium Development Goals, as well as the ambitious goal of near-zero deaths from malaria by the end of 2015. Further highlighted documents and informative reading covering the topic are published on the WHO-Malaria webpage.
An overview of products available from UNICEF Supply Division can be found in the UNICEF Supply Catalogue. Useful information for supply chain planning is covered on item level, including product shelf live, storage requirements and further vital technical specifications. UNICEF procured over 11.7 million malaria rapid diagnostic test kits in 2011.
Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test Performance