Malaria RDT kits rolled out in Zambia

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Government has observed that the use of rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) in health centres across the country has helped in eradicating malaria through early diagnosis and treatment.

Ministry of Health Chief Biomedical Scientist Davy Nsama said the introduction of the RDTs in Zambia has enabled all health facilities especially those in hard to reach areas to diagnose malaria and eventually commence early treatment.

Mr. Nsama stated the government has realized that in order to stamp out malaria across the country, there was need to introduce easier ways of diagnosing the malaria parasite other than the microscopic one which is normally done in laboratories by highly qualified specialists.

He noted that many health facilities in rural and some urban areas do not have laboratories hence the use of rapid testing kits will ensure that appropriate medication was given to patients quickly.

He disclosed that from 2004 when the RDTs were introduced in the country, malaria cases have reduced because almost all health facilities were now able to diagnose the disease with ease.

Mr. Nsama has since encouraged health workers to ensure that they maintain quality standards in the administration of RDTs to avoid errors.

He said RDTs were able to detect about 95 percent of parasite in the malaria cases which he said was of high quality.

Mr. Nsama was speaking at the training workshop for health workers in using Alere AD Bioline Malaria RDT series which is a product of Alere Healthcare Limited of South Korea.

He commended Alere Healthcare Limited and its partners Melcome Marketing and Distributors Limited and Churches Health Association of Zambia for organising a training workshop.

He said the workshop will help health workers understand better on how to efficiently use the kits.

And Alere Healthcare Limited Country Manager Valerie Mulenga said her company has been supplying Zambia with SD Bioline Malaria RDT series since the year 2009 adding that this has been embraced in the diagnosis of malaria countrywide.

Ms. Mulenga stated that the SD Bioline is currently being used in many countries especially in southern and western African countries where it has been performing very well.

She stated that from the time the kits were introduced on the market, the products have proved to be very efficient and that no report of counterfeit products have so far been produced due to high
technology used in the manner they are manufactured.

Meanwhile the distributor of the products, Melcome Marketing and Distributors Director Sadik Seedat said the RDTs have been overwhelmingly received in Zambia as they are used in hard to reach areas of the country where malaria cases are high.

Mr. Seedat stated that health workers now understand the need to diagnose malaria before commencing treatment saying treating malaria without diagnosis may cause resistance in people.

He stated that Zambia has recorded a drop in malaria cases from the time the RDT kits were introduced in the country.

Health workers who include nurses, clinical officers and lab technologists from health centres in five districts namely Mumbwa, Chibombo, Rufunsa, Chongwe and Lusaka have converged in Lusaka at Falls Way Villas for a training workshop on how to use the RDT in the diagnosis of malaria.