Coverage, adherence and costs of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in children employing different delivery strategies in Jasikan, Ghana

PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e24871. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024871. Epub 2011 Nov 3.


Background: Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in children (IPTc) involves the administration of a course of anti-malarial drugs at specified time intervals to children at risk of malaria regardless of whether or not they are known to be infected. IPTc provides a high level of protection against uncomplicated and severe malaria, with monthly sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine plus amodiaquine (SP&AQ) and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine plus piperaquine being the most efficacious regimens. A key challenge is the identification of a cost-effective delivery strategy.

Methods: A community randomized trial was undertaken in Jasikan district, Ghana to assess IPTc effectiveness and costs using SP&AQ delivered in three different ways. Twelve villages were randomly selected to receive IPTc from village health workers (VHWs) or facility-based nurses working at health centres' outpatient departments (OPD) or EPI outreach clinics. Children aged 3 to 59 months-old received one IPT course (three doses) in May, June, September and October. Effectiveness was measured in terms of children covered and adherent to a course and delivery costs were calculated in financial and economic terms using an ingredient approach from the provider perspective.

Results: The economic cost per child receiving at least the first dose of all 4 courses was US$4.58 when IPTc was delivered by VHWs, US$4.93 by OPD nurses and US$ 5.65 by EPI nurses. The unit economic cost of receiving all 3 doses of all 4 courses was US$7.56 and US$8.51 when IPTc was delivered by VHWs or facility-based nurses respectively. The main cost driver for the VHW delivery was supervision, reflecting resources used for travelling to more remote communities rather than more intense supervision, and for OPD and EPI delivery, it was the opportunity cost of the time spent by nurses in dispensing IPTc.

Conclusions: VHWs achieve higher IPTc coverage and adherence at lower costs than facility-based nurses in Jasikan district, Ghana.

Trial registration: NCT00119132.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antimalarials / administration & dosage
  • Antimalarials / economics
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Ghana
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Malaria / prevention & control*
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Preventive Health Services / economics*


  • Antimalarials

Associated data