Sonia E. Sachs, Donald O. Apat, John M. Gachohi, Jusper R. Kiplimo, Mohamed Karama
Malaria case management continues to experience dynamic changes. Building community capacity is instrumental in both prevention and treatment of malaria. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends utilization of well-trained and supervised community health workers (CHWs) to reduce the burden of malaria deaths among children under-5 years of age in Africa. Longitudinally-tracked information on utilization of CHWs by communities in terms of trends in diagnosis of malaria in children under-5 years of age is essential in influencing national and local malaria control policies and strategies. A desktop review was carried out of a database consisting of confirmed uncomplicated malaria cases in 10 villages using CHWs and out-patient departments of 10 health facilities in children under-five for the period of 3 years between January 2013 and December 2015. Analyses of association between the diagnosed cases and satellite-based rainfall, village and time (months and years) were carried out using a Poisson regression model. Analysis of malaria diagnoses made by CHWs showed the following trends: (i) the incidence of reported documented malaria-positive fever cases increased with time (2013–2015) and the difference over the years was statistically significant (P < 0.001), (ii) specific village was significantly associated (P < 0.001) with reporting malaria-positive fever cases, (iii) the long-term monthly sequence starting from highest to lowest incidence of reported malaria-positive fever cases was July, May and June, March, August, April, September, November, and February, October and, finally, January, and the difference in reported malaria-positives between the months was statistically significant (P = 0.001) and (iv) none of the tested rainfall regimes (current, lagged or cumulative) was associated with reported malaria-positive fever cases during the 3-year period (P > 0.1). Looking at the number of diagnoses made at the health facilities, (i) The number of reported malaria-positive fever cases decreased with time (2013–2015) and the difference among the years was not statistically significant (P = 0.399), (ii) The long-term monthly sequence starting from highest to lowest number of reported malaria-positive fever cases was July, June, May, April, January, August, March, February, September, November, October and December, and the difference between the months was statistically significant (P < 0.001). CHWs have the potential to play a major role in diagnosing and treating malaria, thereby decreasing under-five children mortality. Temporally, the risk of diagnosing malaria seems predictable and this may present opportunities for policy-targeted malaria preparedness and control. The findings are expected to support policy actions that may scale-up community health services in remote rural settings.