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Free Market Availability of Rapid Diagnostics Will Empower Communities To Control Malaria in India

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  • 1 Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India;
  • | 2 National Institute of Malaria Research, New Delhi, India;
  • | 3 Molecular Medicine, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi, India

ABSTRACT.

Globally, malaria incidence has declined but further reductions in malaria are not evident in many countries. In addition to the public health approaches for tackling malaria, involvement of the private sector is vital because the private sector plays a central role in healthcare delivery to the masses. In India, malaria management is primarily provided through government programs, nonetheless, significant numbers of fever patients continue to seek healthcare in the private sector. The private sector in India is comprised of formal healthcare (qualified and approved), informal healthcare (unqualified, untrained), including traditional healers. Commercial channels for the procurement of quality-assured malaria diagnostics like rapid diagnostic tests via pharmacies or other approved outlets would empower Indian populations to self-detect malaria without delay. Easier access would minimize the diagnostic time gap, reduce costs to the patient, prevent inappropriate malaria treatment, and foster timely treatment of both malaria and non-malaria infections. Commercially available rapid diagnostic tests in the hands of the people could be an important tool in our fight against malaria.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Amit Sharma, Sector 8, Dwarka, New Delhi 110 077, India. E-mail: directornimr@gmail.com

Author's addresses: Manju Rahi, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India, E-mail: drmanjurahi@gmail.com. Amit Sharma, ICMR, National Institute of Malaria Research, Dwarka, New Delhi, India, and International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi, India, E-mail: directornimr@gmail.com.

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