Background: Access to prompt and effective treatment is a cornerstone of the current malaria control strategy. Delays in starting appropriate treatment is a major contributor to malaria mortality. WHO recommends home management of malaria using artemisininbased combination therapy (ACT) and Rapid Diagnostic tests (RDTs) as one of the strategies for improving access to prompt and efective malaria case management.
Methods: A prospective evaluation of the effectiveness of using community health workers (CHWs) as delivery points for ACT and RDTs in the home management of malaria in two districts in Zambia.
Results: CHWs were able to manage malaria fevers by correctly interpreting RDT results and appropriately prescribing antimalarials. All severe malaria cases and febrile non-malaria fevers were referred to a health facility for further management. There were variations in malaria prevalence between the two districts and among the villages in each district. 100% and 99.4% of the patients with a negative RDT result were not prescribed an antimalarial in the two districts respectively. No cases progressed to severe malaria and no deaths were recorded during the study period. Community perceptions were positive.
Conclusion: CHWs are effective delivery points for prompt and effective malaria case management at community level. Adherence to test results is the best ever reported in Zambia. Further areas of implementation research are discussed.