Study title: Determining the impact of scaling up mass testing, treatment and tracking on malaria prevalence among children in the Pakro sub district of Ghana

Dr Ndong Ignatius Cheng aims to identify ways to scale up mass test-treat-track, programmes to include whole communities thus reducing overall parasite load prior to specific interventions.


Asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia poses a serious threat to malaria control efforts. Persons carrying the malaria parasite but showing no symptoms, constitute a reservoir that fuels the transmission process. Mass parasite clearance can deplete these parasite reservoirs and lower the transmission potential. Therefore, efforts are made to scale up current effective interventions such as the use of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLIN), intermittent preventive treatment in children (IPTc), and test, treat and track (TTT) programmes. However, in designing interventions to reduce the burden of malaria in children under five, mass TTT has largely been left out. Adults, usually not targeted, remain reservoirs for transmission. Mass testing, treating and tracking (MTTT) of the whole population is needed to reduce the parasite load before implementing the interventions mentioned.

The Project

Seasonal malaria chemoprophylaxis (SMC) has been adopted for selected localities in Ghana. The impact of these interventions could be enhanced if associated with MTTT at baseline to reduce the parasite load. In a pilot with MTTT in Ghana, coverage of more than 75% was achieved in target communities. This reduced asymptomatic parasitaemia by 27.4% from July 2017 to July 2018. It is important to continue this work so as to generate time-series data to better analyse and understand the prevalence trends and bottlenecks. However, questions remain on what we need for MTTT scale-up and must be addressed. The hypothesis is that implementing MTTT complemented by communitybased case management can reduce the prevalence of asymptomatic malaria parasite carriage in endemic communities. Thus, Dr Cheng will conduct an MTTT programme in the Pakro subdistrict of Ghana among household members two months and older. All cases of confirmed asymptomatic parasitaemia or clinical malaria will be treated. The entire population will be followed up in two years. Hospital records will be studied to document trends in malaria admissions in the area during the study.



In addition to bringing a concrete community health benefit and documenting trends in asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia in the study population, this implementation study will also analyse the challenges and bottlenecks associated with scaling up mass test, treatment and tracking programmes. In addition, the project will have a strong capacity development component, not only for the fellow and his development as a researcher and trainer of junior scientists but also for his research team. This comprises nurses, community health workers (HWs) and research assistants who will be trained on ethics, good clinical practice, population engagement and sensitization techniques.

Project at a glance

Project: EDCTP Career Development Fellowship

Project lead: Dr Ndong Ignatius Cheng,
                   Noguchi Memorial Instiute for Medical Research University of Ghana
                   Catholic University of Cameroon
Year funded: 2019
EDCTP funding: €146,537
Grant agreement: TMA2018CDF-2402

The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), set up in 1979 as a semi autonomous institute of the University, is the leading biomedical research facility in Ghana.

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