In this paper, we aim to evaluate the effectiveness of community-based interventions (CBIs) for the prevention and management of malaria. We conducted a systematic review and identified 42 studies for inclusion. Twenty-five of the included studies evaluated the impact of the community-based distribution of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), indoor residual spraying (IRS), or impregnated bed sheets; 14 studies evaluated intermittent preventive therapy (IPT) delivered in community settings; two studies focused on community-based education for malaria prevention; and one study evaluated environmental management through drain cleaning. Our analysis suggests that, overall, the community-based delivery of interventions to prevent and control malaria resulted in a significant increase in ITNs ownership (RR: 2.16, 95% CI: 1.86, 2.52) and usage (RR: 1.77, 95% CI: 1.48, 2.11). However, usage of ITNs was limited to two-thirds of the population who owned them. Community-based strategies also led to a significant decrease in parasitemia (RR: 0.56, 95% CI: 0.42, 0.74), malaria prevalence (RR: 0.46, 95% CI: 0.29, 0.73), malaria incidence (RR: 0.70, 95% CI: 0.54, 0.90), and anemia prevalence (RR: 0.79, 95% CI: 0.64, 0.97). We found a non-significant impact on splenomegaly, birth outcomes (low birth weight, prematurity, stillbirth/miscarriage), anthropometric measures (stunting, wasting, and underweight), and mortality (all-cause and malaria-specific). The subgroup analysis suggested that community-based distribution of ITNs, impregnated bed sheets and IRS, and IPT are effective strategies. Qualitative synthesis suggests that high coverage could be achieved at a lower cost with the integration of CBIs with existing antenatal care and immunization campaigns. Community-based delivery of interventions to prevent and control malaria are effective strategies to improve coverage and access and reduce malaria burden, however, efforts should also be concerted to prevent over diagnosis and drug resistance.
Keywords: Community-based interventions; Malaria; Malaria treatment; Malarial control.