Adherence to Mass Drug Administration with Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine and Plasmodium falciparum Clearance in Southern Province, Zambia

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Aug;103(2_Suppl):37-45. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.19-0667.


Mass drug administration (MDA) with artemisinin combination therapy is a potentially useful tool for malaria elimination programs, but its success depends partly on drug effectiveness and treatment coverage in the targeted population. As part of a cluster-randomized controlled trial in Southern Province, Zambia evaluating the impact of MDA and household focal MDA (fMDA) with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHAp), sub-studies were conducted investigating population drug adherence rates and effectiveness of DHAp as administered in clearing Plasmodium falciparum infections following household mass administration. Adherence information was reported for 181,534 of 336,821 DHAp (53.9%) treatments administered during four rounds of MDA/fMDA, of which 153,197 (84.4%) reported completing the full course of DHAp. The proportion of participants fully adhering to the treatment regimen differed by MDA modality (MDA versus fMDA), RDT status, and whether the first dose was observed by those administering treatments. Among a subset of participants receiving DHAp and selected for longitudinal follow-up, 58 were positive for asexual-stage P. falciparum infection by microscopy at baseline. None of the 45 participants followed up at days 3 and/or 7 were slide positive for asexual-stage parasitemia. For those with longer term follow-up, one participant was positive 47 days after treatment, and two additional participants were positive after 69 days, although these two were determined to be new infections by genotyping. High completion of a 3-day course of DHAp and parasite clearance in the context of household MDA are promising as Zambia's National Malaria Programme continues to weigh appropriate interventions for malaria elimination.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antimalarials / administration & dosage*
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use
  • Artemisinins / administration & dosage*
  • Artemisinins / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Eradication / methods
  • Disease Eradication / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Malaria, Falciparum / epidemiology
  • Malaria, Falciparum / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Mass Drug Administration* / methods
  • Mass Drug Administration* / psychology
  • Mass Drug Administration* / statistics & numerical data
  • Medication Adherence* / psychology
  • Medication Adherence* / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care* / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Plasmodium falciparum* / drug effects
  • Quinolines / administration & dosage*
  • Quinolines / therapeutic use
  • Zambia / epidemiology


  • Antimalarials
  • Artemisinins
  • Quinolines
  • dihydroartemisinin
  • piperaquine