Community Surveillance

You need to know where malaria is before you can combat it.

Knowing exactly who has malaria and where they live is necessary information for anyone trying to control or eliminate the disease. If one person is infected with malaria they can infect another person, and they another, and another. Every day that passes for a malaria-infected person is one more day that they can possibly contribute to someone else becoming infected. Curing malaria promptly is one way to stop this infection process.

To cure every malaria case promptly, one must first find all malaria cases, then make sure those who have the disease receive medication, and all of this in timely fashion. Every day that passes for a malaria-infected person is one more day that they can possibly infect someone else. Time is of the essence.

A CHW administers a rapid test for malaria

Click here to download a PDF summary of the Community-level surveillance program.

The Challenges

A CHW tracks patient records

For vast, resource-poor countries registering thousands of malaria cases per year, detecting and treating malaria cases is tremendously difficult. Often times, malaria cases are hand-recorded on paper forms in health facilities, then physically carried to supervisors for analysis.

Amplifying systems like this is a major challenge. Introduce technologies that are too fancy, and you risk creating dependencies that are unsustainable. If you aim too low, by contrast, the problem risks going unfixed.

A community health worker follows up on an active malaria case in her village

Our Solution

Along side the Government of the Republic of Zambia, Akros developed the first community health worker malaria surveillance and treatment network in Zambia, which is also one of the first of its kind on the African continent. Akros technicians developed a reactive case detection (RCD) protocol whereby health facilities and health posts, upon receiving a malaria infected patient, alert community health workers near the household of the patient. These community health workers do a case investigation, testing surrounding households for malaria infections, and provide treatment as necessary.

As a result of this system, Zambian community health workers detected and treated thousands of malaria cases that otherwise would have likely been missed by the routine health system.

This system has increased access to care in rural areas and is supporting Zambia’s progress to malaria elimination by finding remaining malaria infections and providing treatment to stop transmission.

A patient shows the Coartem she was given by her community health worker to cure her malaria