Rapid Diagnostic Test Versus Microscopy for Diagnosing Malaria Among Pregnant Women in a Resource-Poor Setting; A Cross-Sectional Comparative Study

  •  Bartholomew N. Odio    
  •  Leonard O. Ajah    
  •  Perpetus C. Ibekwe    
  •  Monique I. Ajah    
  •  George O. Ugwu    
  •  Theophilus O. Nwankwo    
  •  Christian C. Anikwe    


BACKGROUND: Diagnostic challenge of malaria in Nigeria remarkably impedes the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of laboratory diagnosis before treatment. Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) is easier and cheaper to perform when compared with microscopy especially in resource-poor settings. However there are conflicting results on the accuracy of RDT versus microscopy from previous studies.

AIM: To compare the overall accuracy of   microscopy and RDT in detecting peripheral malaria among   pregnant women with clinical features of malaria.

MATERIALS & METHODS: This was a cross-sectional comparative studyin whichRDT, microscopy and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were performed using the peripheral bloodof the eligible study participants at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki between September 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017.The PCR was used as the gold standard in this study. Data was analyzed with the Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 18 (IBM SPSS, Chicago, USA). P value ≤ 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

RESULTS: The actual prevalent rates of malaria based on RDT, microscopy and PCR results among the participants were 58.2%, 59.9% and 61.1% respectively. There was no statistical significant difference among RDT, microscopy and combined RDT and microscopy on overall accuracy. Malaria infestation was associated with self-employed and unemployed women, primigravidity, second trimester, rural residence, non-use of long lasting insecticide treated nets and intermittent preventive therapy for malaria.

CONCLUSION: There was no difference in overall accuracy among RDT, microscopy and combined RDT and microscopy. This underscores the need to scale up RDT for every patient with clinical features of malaria before treatment in this environment.

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