Repeated mosquito net distributions, improved treatment, and trends in malaria cases in sentinel health facilities in Papua New Guinea.

12 Nov 2019
Rodriguez-Rodriguez D, Maraga S, Lorry L, Robinson LJ, Siba PM, Mueller I, Pulford J, Ross A, Hetzel MW

BACKGROUND

Long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLIN), improved diagnosis and artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) have reduced malaria prevalence in Papua New Guinea since 2008. Yet, national incidence trends are inconclusive due to confounding effects of the scale-up of rapid diagnostic tests, and inconsistencies in routine reporting.

METHODS

Malaria trends and their association with LLIN and ACT roll-out between 2010 and 2014 in seven sentinel health facilities were analysed. The analysis included 35,329 fever patients. Intervention effects were estimated using regression models.

RESULTS

Malaria incidence initially ranged from 20 to 115/1000 population; subsequent trends varied by site. Overall, LLIN distributions had a cumulative effect, reducing the number of malaria cases with each round (incidence rate ratio ranging from 0.12 to 0.53 in five sites). No significant reduction was associated with ACT introduction. Plasmodium falciparum remained the dominant parasite in all sentinel health facilities. Resurgence occurred in one site in which a shift to early and outdoor biting of anophelines had previously been documented.

CONCLUSIONS

LLINs, but not ACT, were associated with reductions of malaria cases in a range of settings, but sustainability of the gains appear to depend on local factors. Malaria programmes covering diverse transmission settings such as Papua New Guinea must consider local heterogeneity when choosing interventions and ensure continuous monitoring of trends.