Understanding adherence to reactive treatment of asymptomatic malaria infections in The Gambia

Fatou Jaiteh, Joseph Okebe, Yoriko Masunaga, Umberto D'Alessandro, Jane Achan, Charlotte Gryseels, Daniel de Vries, Joan Muela Ribera, Koen Peeters Grietens

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The impact of different types of reactive case detection and/or treatment strategies for malaria elimination depends on high coverage and participants' adherence. However, strategies to optimise adherence are limited, particularly for people with asymptomatic or no infections. As part of a cluster-randomized trial to evaluate the effect of reactive treatment in The Gambia, all residents in the compound of a diagnosed clinical malaria patient received dihydro-artemisinin-piperaquine (DP). Using a mixed method approach, we assessed which factors contribute to adherence among the contacts of malaria cases that showed no symptoms. Adherence was defined as the proportion of compound members that (1) returned all medicine bags empty and (2) self-reported (3-day) treatment completion. Among the 273 individuals from 14 compounds who received DP, 227 (83.1%) were available for and willing to participate in the survey; 85.3% (233/273) returned empty medicine bags and 91.6% (208/227) self-reported treatment completion. Although clinical malaria was not considered a major health problem, reported adherence was high. The drivers of adherence were the strong sense of responsibility towards protecting the individual, compound and the village. Adherence can be optimised through a transdisciplinary implementation research process of engaging communities to bridge the gap between research goals and social realities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1746
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2021




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