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01.12.2018 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Malaria Journal 1/2018

Using ante-natal clinic prevalence data to monitor temporal changes in malaria incidence in a humanitarian setting in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Zeitschrift:
Malaria Journal > Ausgabe 1/2018
Autoren:
Joel Hellewell, Patrick Walker, Azra Ghani, Bhargavi Rao, Thomas S. Churcher
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12936-018-2460-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Bhargavi Rao and Thomas S. Churcher are shared last authorship

Abstract

Background

The number of clinical cases of malaria is often recorded in resource constrained or conflict settings as a proxy for disease burden. Interpreting case count data in areas of humanitarian need is challenging due to uncertainties in population size caused by security concerns, resource constraints and population movement. Malaria prevalence in women visiting ante-natal care (ANC) clinics has the potential to be an easier and more accurate metric for malaria surveillance that is unbiased by population size if malaria testing is routinely conducted irrespective of symptoms.

Methods

A suite of distributed lag non-linear models was fitted to clinical incidence time-series data in children under 5 years and ANC prevalence data from health centres run by Médecins Sans Frontières in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which implement routine intermittent screening and treatment alongside intermittent preventative treatment in pregnancy. These statistical models enable the temporal relationship between the two metrics to be disentangled.

Results

There was a strong relationship between the ANC prevalence and clinical incidence suggesting that both can be used to describe current malaria endemicity. There was no evidence that ANC prevalence could predict future clinical incidence, though a change in clinical incidence was shown to influence ANC prevalence up to 3 months into the future.

Conclusions

The results indicate that ANC prevalence may be a suitable metric for retrospective evaluations of the impact of malaria interventions and is a useful method for evaluating long-term malaria trends in resource constrained settings.
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