The world has reached a critical juncture in the fight against malaria. There is both an opportunity and an urgent need to accelerate progress by reducing morbidity and mortality, by increasing the number of countries free of malaria and by identifying approaches that aim to reduce transmission. The vision of World Health Organisation (WHO) and the global malaria community is a world free of malaria by 2030. To meet this ambitious goal it is integral that we work with and support vulnerable and marginalized communities with high burdens of malaria.
Through this presentation I will describe how 600 local community members in East New Britain, PNG, have been empowered to provide testing & treatment for malaria in their villages. Using Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs), a procedure that once required trained staff and expensive equipment to perform a microscopy to visualise the parasite in the blood, can now be replaced and done cheaply and effectively at the village level using a point of care test. This not only reduces cost and inconvenience to the patient, it increases the number of people being tested, it also decreases the time from infection to diagnosis which in turn helps to reduce the amount of parasite in the community so less people become infected and those infected present more quickly with a less serve illness and improved prognosis. These same community members worked closely within their villages to improve prevention strategies including use of LLNs, passive case detection and reducing mosquito breeding sites
Through these activities villages were able to dramatically reduce the burden of disease, increase school attendance, increase household productivity, and reduce infant and maternal morbidity and mortality, edging closer to a world without malaria.