The outcome of a test-treat package versus routine outpatient care for Ghanaian children with fever: a pragmatic randomized control trial

Emmanuel Ameyaw, Samuel B Nguah, Daniel Ansong, Iain Page, Martine Guillerm, Imelda Bates

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND:Over-diagnosis of malaria among African children results in mismanagement of non-malaria infections. Limited laboratory capacity makes it difficult to implement policies that recommend pre-treatment confirmation of infections so a new approach with a package for on-the-spot management of fevers was evaluated.METHODS:Febrile children presenting to outpatient clinic were randomized to receive either a 'test-treat' package (history with clinical examination; point-of-care tests; choice of artesunate-amodiaquine, co-amoxiclav and/or paracetamol) or routine outpatient care in a secondary health care facility in Kumasi, Ghana. A diagnosis of malaria, bacterial, viral or mixed malarial and bacterial infections was made using pre-defined criteria. Outcome was resolution of all symptoms including fever on day 7.RESULTS:The median age of the patients was 37.5 months (IQR: 19 to 66 months), with 56.7% being males. Compared to routine care the test-treat package resulted in less diagnoses of malaria, (37.2% vs 46.2%, p = 0.190) and mixed malaria and bacterial infections (14.0% vs 53.8%, p <0.001) but more diagnoses of viral (33.1% vs 0.0%, p <0.001) and bacterial infections only (15.7% vs 0.0%, p <0.001). Less anti-malarials (51.2% vs 100.0%, p <0.001) and antibiotics (29.7% vs 48.7%, p <0.001), were prescribed in the test-treat group on completion of study, more test-treat package patients were clinically well (99.2% vs 80.7%, p <0.001) and febrile (0.8% vs 10.1%, p = 0.001) and less were admitted for inpatient care (0.0% vs 8.4% p = 0.001) compared to the routine care group.CONCLUSION:Test-treat package improves the effectiveness of outpatient diagnosis and treatment of children with fever and reduces inappropriate prescribing of anti-malarials and antibiotics. The package provides clinicians with the option for immediate diagnosis and treatment of non-malaria fevers. The test-treat package now needs to be evaluated in other settings including primary health care facilities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)461
    JournalMalaria Journal
    Volume13
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2014

    Keywords

    • malaria

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