Determining the impact of scaling up mass testing, treatment and tracking on malaria prevalence among children in the Pakro sub district of Ghana (Detl-MTTT)
In designing interventions that aim at reducing the burden of malaria in children under five, for example, mass testing, treatment and tracking (MTTT) has largely been left out. Adults who are not often targeted by such interventions remain reservoirs that fuel transmission. This study explores the scale-up of interventions that work (LLIN, IPTc and IPTp) using existing community volunteer teams. We hypothesize that implementing MTTT complemented by community-based management can reduce the prevalence of asymptomatic malaria parasite carriage in endemic communities. The effect of the interventions will be observed by comparing baseline data to evaluation data. This study will document the challenges and bottlenecks associated with scaling-up of MTTT to inform future efforts to scale-up the intervention.
Globally, malaria prevalence in 2016 was reported to have increased with 445,000 deaths, 91% of which occurred in sub-Sahara Africa with more than 75% being children. Individuals who carry the malaria parasite can either be symptomatic (showing signs and symptoms) or asymptomatic (without signs and symptoms). Asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia pose a very serious threat to malaria control efforts as they serve as reservoirs that fuel the transmission process. Therefore, interventions that target community-wide clearance of asymptomatic parasitaemia can drastically reduce malaria prevalence in the population and lead to elimination especially in endemic areas. Mass parasite clearance can deplete the parasite reservoirs and lower the transmission potential.
Efforts are ongoing to scale-up interventions that work such as use of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLIN), Intermittent Preventive Treatment in children (IPTc), and test, treat and track (TTT). However, there is need for mass testing, treatment and tracking (MTTT) of the whole population to reduce the parasite load before implementing the aforementioned interventions. Though, Seasonal Malaria Chemoprophylaxis (SMC) is adopted for selected localities in Ghana, the impact of such interventions could be enhanced, if associated with MTTT at baseline to reduce the parasite load. IPT of children in Ghana has demonstrated a parasite load reduction from 25% to 1%. However, unanswered questions include - could this be scaled up? What can be the coverage? What do we need for MTTT scale -up?