Operational Coverage and Timeliness of Reactive Case Detection for Malaria Elimination in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Feb;102(2):298-306. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.19-0505.


Since 2012, the Zanzibar Malaria Elimination Program has been implementing reactive case detection (RACD). Health facility (HF) staff send individual malaria case notifications by using mobile phones, triggering a review of HF records and malaria testing and treatment at the household level by a district malaria surveillance officer. We assessed the completeness and timeliness of this system, from case notification to household-level response. We reviewed two years (2015-2016) of primary register information in 40 randomly selected HFs on Zanzibar's two islands Unguja and Pemba and database records of case notifications from all registered HFs for the period 2013-16. The operational coverage of the system was calculated as proportion of HF-registered cases that were successfully reviewed and followed up at their household. Timeliness was defined as completion of each step within 1 day. Public HFs notified almost all registered cases (91% in Unguja and 87% in Pemba), and 74% of cases registered at public HFs were successfully followed up at their household in Unguja and 79% in Pemba. Timely operational coverage (defined as each step, diagnosis to notification, notification to review, and review to household-level response, completed within 1 day) was achieved for only 25% of registered cases in Unguja and 30% in Pemba. Records and data from private HFs on Unguja indicated poor notification performance in the private sector. Although the RACD system in Zanzibar achieved high operational coverage, timeliness was suboptimal. Patients diagnosed with malaria at private HFs and hospitals appeared to be largely missed by the RACD system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use
  • Community Health Services*
  • Disease Eradication
  • Family Characteristics
  • Humans
  • Malaria / diagnosis*
  • Malaria / drug therapy
  • Malaria / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Program Evaluation*
  • Public Health
  • Tanzania / epidemiology


  • Antimalarials