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Malaria Research and Treatment
Volume 2013, Article ID 398143, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/398143
Research Article

Expanding Access to Malaria Diagnosis through Retail Shops in Western Kenya: What Do Shop Workers Think?

1Duke Global Health Institute, Trent Hall, Durham, NC, USA
2London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
3Moi University School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Nandi Rd, Eldoret, Kenya
4Webuye Demographic Surveillance Site Scientific Steering Committee, Eldoret, Kenya
5Duke University School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Durham, NC, USA
6Moi University School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Nandi Rd, Eldoret, Kenya

Received 25 March 2013; Accepted 22 April 2013

Academic Editor: Polrat Wilairatana

Copyright © 2013 Andria Rusk et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. The common symptoms of malaria reduce the specificity of clinical diagnosis. Presumptive treatment is conventional but can lead to overdiagnosis of malaria, delay of appropriate treatment, overprescription of antimalarials, and drug resistance. Routine use of diagnostic tests can address many of these concerns. Though treatment is often procured from retailers, there is low availability of rapid diagnostic tests for malaria (MRDTs), a simple, inexpensive, and accurate diagnostic solution. We know little about the challenges to expanding access to diagnostics through these outlets. Methods. To understand the perceptions of the benefits and challenges to selling rapid diagnostic tests for malaria, we conducted focus group discussions with antimalarial retailers who serve the residents of the Webuye Health and Demographic Surveillance Site in western Kenya. Results. Medicine retailers perceived MRDTs to be beneficial to their customers and businesses but also included cost, fear of the tests, risks of self-treatment, and regulatory concerns among the challenges to using and selling MRDTs. Conclusion. MRDTs represent a viable approach to increase access to malaria diagnostic testing. Medicine retailers are eager for MRDTs to be made available to them. However, certain challenges remain to implementation in retail outlets and should be addressed in advance.