‘Chasing Malaria’ is a pilot program based in National Capital District (NCD) and Central Provinces of Papua New Guinea since late 2014. It’s goal is to map malaria within these Provinces and to supply Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) where malaria remains a problem. This is achieved by giving every RDT (Rapid Diagnostic Test) malaria positive case an LLIN. This assumes that these people do not have nets but it also reinforces the message of using an LLIN every night to avoid getting malaria. From the data collected RAM will be able to identify the worst affected villages and commence programs to eliminate malaria altogether.
The program works closely with the Central and NCD Provincial Health Authorities and now has full coverage of all health centres in these Provinces. RAM is keeping a full record all malaria cases identified, RDT results and LLINs issued.
- The project is now delivering nets through 19 Health Centres in NCD and 21 Health Centres in Central Province (1 Goilala, 11 Kairuku, 6 Rigo and 3 Abau).
- Between December 2014 and June 2015, the project has recorded 1,814 cases of malaria with LLINs distributed to them. This is about 260 malaria cases a month between the two provinces. This would give approximate incidence rates of 2 per 1000 in NCD and about 11 per thousand in Central Province.
- When the project started, many cases of malaria were being diagnosed clinically without using RDTs. Now all clinics are regularly using RDTs – NCD now tests 99% of all cases of malaria and Central 96% -The records show that some of the Aid Posts of the programme are still not utilising RDTs properly but this is being addressed.
- Between December 2014 to June 2015 NCD Clinics tested 17,457 cases of which 644 were positive (3.6% in NCD ). Interestingly the records show that most cases where in adults suggesting that much of the malaria is NCD is imported.
- In Central Province, from 8,932 patients tested with RDTs, 1,170 (12.1%) were positive. Unlike NCD, malaria cases in Central are not scattered but appear focused in certain locations. The two worst villages identifies are Kuriva Blocks near Kuriva Health Centre and Adio near Kabuna Health Centre. This identification means that the project can now start to look at other interventions that can be applied to these villages to reduce malaria.
- The data shows that malaria cases recorded in the period of April to June are greater than January to March. It is not yet clear why but the data supports deeper analysis.
- RDTs were not always being read correctly – the project is collecting the positive RDTs as an insurance that the RDTs are being read correctly and nets are being given out to those who deserve them.
- Clinic staff still not asking people exactly where they live and still record people in a generic sense e.g. Vabukore – more exact addresses are needed for follow up.
- Identifying villages has allowed for targeted sales of Mosbar through RAM’s ‘Private Sector Program’ which has proved very popular.
RAM PNG is managed by Tim Freeman who is a full time employee.