Economic advantage of a community-based malaria management program in the Brazilian Amazon.

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  • 1 Department of Enteric Diseases, Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Bangkok, Thailand.

In the Brazilian Amazon, travel costs to centralized malaria clinics for diagnosis and treatment can approach 20% of one's monthly salary. A program was established in a mining town for community-based dipstick test diagnosis and treatment. An economic analysis was performed that compared expected costs under the old program to the observed costs of the new one. Data were obtained through interviews, government reports, clinic and hospital records, and community records. There was a 53% reduction (by 1,219 visits) of clinic visits but a doubling of malaria hospitalization admissions (to 191). The new program had an overall annual savings of $60,900 ($11.8K-$160K, sensitivity limits), a 77% reduction of the old program's cost. The benefit-to-cost ratio was 9:1, where benefits were patients' savings from travel and lost wages and costs were government drug, diagnostic, training, and monitoring expenses. A community-based program incorporating dipstick tests for malaria management can have economic advantages.