Malaria microscopy quality assurance manual - version 1
Early diagnosis and prompt, effective treatment is the basis for the management of malaria and key to reducing malaria mortality and morbidity. Demonstration of the presence of malaria parasites prior to treatment with antimalarial drugs is fundamental this goal, as clinical diagnosis has poor accuracy and leads to over-diagnosis of malaria with resultant poor management of non-malarial febrile illness and wastage of antimalarial drugs. While microscopy remains the mainstay of parasite-based diagnosis in most large health clinics and hospitals, the quality of microscopy-based diagnosis is frequently inadequate for ensuring good health outcomes and optimal use of resources.
An acceptable microscopy service is one that is cost-effective, provides results that are consistently accurate and timely enough to have a direct impact on treatment. This requires a comprehensive and active quality assurance (QA) programme.