- Keywords > antimalarial medicines (AMLs)
- Keywords > malaria - clinical features of severe malaria
- Keywords > malaria - diagnosis
- Keywords > malaria - management of severe malaria
- Keywords > national treatment guidelines
- Keywords > rapid diagnostic test (RDT)
- Keywords > Standard Treatment Guidelines
- Keywords > treatment - malaria
- Keywords > treatment guidelines
(2009; 19 pages)
In Zimbabwe malaria continues to be a major public health problem. Over half of the population of 12 595 418 million is at risk of contracting malaria. It is the third commonest cause of morbidity and mortality in our country, coming after HIV and AIDS and Tuberculosis across all age groups. Annually close to 1.5 million malaria episodes are reported whilst an average of 1000 people die from this disease. Malaria accounts for 30% of outpatients at clinics and 40% of hospital admissions.
Various strategies have been put in place to prevent and control malaria. Case management is one of the extremely important strategies alongside such strategies as integrated vector control; prevention of malaria in pregnancy; information education communication and advocacy; epidemic preparedness and response; monitoring and evaluation and operational research.
Malaria case management is guided by treatment guidelines which are a set of instructions directing the utilization of antimalarial drugs in the country. The guidelines are continuously reviewed and updated whenever appropriate by the case management subcommittee (CMS) which advises the MOHCW through NMCP on malaria case management issues. The CMS directs the development of treatment guidelines and case management policies. Zimbabwe changed its malaria treatment policy following a wide spread resistance to chloroquine and sulfadoxine/Pyrimethamine to artemisinin based combination therapy- Coartemether, the more efficacious anti-malaria drug for treating uncomplicated malaria. The policy also stipulates that all suspected malaria cases are to be confirmed with rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and/or microscopy before receiving Coartemether. It is against this background that the malaria treatment guidelines were developed to guide and standardise the implementation of the malaria treatment policy from rural health centres to central hospitals. The treatment guidelines cover all the aspects of malaria case management including diagnosis, management of uncomplicated and severe malaria and intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy.