With the change to artemisinin-based combination therapies, the need for improved diagnostic services with clinical presentation is even greater. Although ACTs are highly effective, their associated cost demands a rational use based on positive confirmation with laboratory microscopy or rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). Zambia is strengthening its national capacity to diagnose and confirm malaria cases through the use of both of these tools.
Specifically, where infrastructural challenges prevent microscopy from being rolled out in the short term, the national malaria control program is relying on RDTs in periphery of health care coverage in rural areas, including health posts and rural health centres. RDTs are being rolled out to these areas along with training on their use and with job aids. Malaria microscopy is the foundation of malaria diagnosis and improving it is the ultimate goal of improved malaria diagnosis. Equipment and training have been planned through funding from the World Bank Booster programme and from successive rounds of funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.