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In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) changed its guidelines to state that all suspected malaria cases should be tested for the presence of malaria parasites by microscopy or malaria rapid diagnostic tests (mRDTs) prior to treatment. A number of countries have now adopted these guidelines and begun to integrate mRDTs into routine service delivery.
With funding from Comic Relief, Malaria Consortium supported the first sustained, district-wide introduction of mRDTs to health facilities in Uganda, starting in December 2010. A number of health workers from public lower-level health facilities have been trained under this programme. A national-level consultative process was also undertaken to revise the national training curriculum for use in country-wide scale-up.
This learning paper presents the lessons drawn from this experience. It discusses the critical training requirements of health workers and what needs to be addressed. The paper also reviews approaches for the successful integration of mRDTs into health service delivery and how best to support health workers adapt to changes in policy.