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Malaria clinical trials and studies
A cluster-randomised trial of health worker and community interventions to improve adherence to national guidelines for the use of ACT in Tanzania: The TACT trial: (Targeting ACT).
In 2010, WHO finally abandoned the policy of ‘presumptive treatment for malaria’ whereby young children with a fever and no obvious cause were treated with an antimalarial drug even if a diagnostic test for malaria was negative.
The TACT trial aims to address one of the most challenging consequences of this policy shift, i.e. how to maximise the use of malaria rapid diagnostic tests (mRDTs) in primary care settings and how to ensure that all and only those with a positive test result are treated for malaria.
Following extensive formative research, a 3-arm cluster randomised trial was initiated in February 2011 and will close in March 2012. Health workers in all arms have received the Ministry of Health’s standard 3-day training on use of RDTs. In addition, health workers in two arms have received a complex intervention consisting of 3 sessions of interactive small-group training, feedback of prescribing results and motivational SMS messages. In one of these arms, patient-directed messages have also been provided through leaflets and posters. Results from the 36 health facilities in the trial will be reported later in 2012 and we anticipate an important contribution towards maximising the benefit of mRDTs throughout Africa.