Quality and safety of integrated community case management of malaria using rapid diagnostic tests and pneumonia by community health workers

Pathog Glob Health. 2012 Mar;106(1):32-9. doi: 10.1179/1364859411Y.0000000042.


Objectives: To assess the quality and safety of having community health workers (CHWs) in rural Zambia use rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and provide integrated management of malaria and pneumonia.

Design/methods: In the context of a cluster-randomized controlled trial of two models for community-based management of malaria and/or non-severe pneumonia in children under 5 years old, CHWs in the intervention arm were trained to use RDTs, follow a simple algorithm for classification and treat malaria with artemether-lumefantrine (AL) and pneumonia with amoxicillin. CHW records were reviewed to assess the ability of the CHWs to appropriately classify and treat malaria and pneumonia, and account for supplies. Patients were also followed up to assess treatment safety.

Results: During the 12-month study, the CHWs evaluated 1017 children with fever and/or fast/difficult breathing and performed 975 RDTs. Malaria and/or pneumonia were appropriately classified 94-100% of the time. Treatment based on disease classification was correct in 94-100% of episodes. Supply management was excellent with over 98% of RDTs, amoxicillin, and AL properly accounted for. The use of RDTs, amoxicillin, and AL was associated with few minor adverse events. Most febrile children (90%) with negative RDT results recovered after being treated with an antipyretic alone.

Conclusions: Volunteer CHWs in rural Zambia are capable of providing integrated management of malaria and pneumonia to children safely and at high quality.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Amoxicillin / adverse effects
  • Amoxicillin / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antimalarials / adverse effects
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use
  • Artemether, Lumefantrine Drug Combination
  • Artemisinins / adverse effects
  • Artemisinins / therapeutic use
  • Case Management / organization & administration
  • Case Management / standards
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Community Health Services / standards
  • Community Health Workers / standards
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / standards
  • Drug Combinations
  • Ethanolamines / adverse effects
  • Ethanolamines / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Fluorenes / adverse effects
  • Fluorenes / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Malaria / complications
  • Malaria / diagnosis*
  • Malaria / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / complications
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / drug therapy
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Rural Health Services / organization & administration
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Zambia


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antimalarials
  • Artemether, Lumefantrine Drug Combination
  • Artemisinins
  • Drug Combinations
  • Ethanolamines
  • Fluorenes
  • Amoxicillin