The World Health Organization (WHO) reported 216 million cases of malaria led to over 655,000 deaths worldwide (WHO World Malaria Report, 2011). However, the target market for the UMT comprises “persons with fever suspected of being malaria”, a significantly higher number.
In 2007, the WHO reported 155 million cases of people with “fever suspected of being malaria” in Nigeria, out of which only 57 million were confirmed to be due to malaria, underscoring the importance of confirmed diagnosis and appropriate treatment. That same year, Kenya and Tanzania accounted for an additional 167 million, and China, India, Pakistan and Cambodia accounted for an additional 739 million people with “fever suspected of being malaria” (WHO World Malaria Report, 2008).
One of the most pronounced problems in controlling malaria is the limited availability and access to accurate at-home or point-of-care diagnosis. The WHO recommends confirmed malaria diagnosis prior to treatment in all cases of fever (WHO, 2010), presently a core intervention strategy in most African countries.
However, timely and equitable access to malaria diagnosis is hampered by the fact that current rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) require blood draw and trained personnel, both unavailable in most point-of-need and community settings where most malaria cases occur, and are primarily available only in healthcare centers. Thus in rural communities with limited access to health facilities, the ability to manage malaria in home or village settings will facilitate prompt access to proper anti-malarial treatment within 24 hours of onset of fever and reduce malaria mortality. In recognition of these facts, African Heads of State committed to ensuring that 60% of persons suffering from malaria have prompt access to proper diagnosis within 24 hours of onset of symptoms (African Union 2000), a target actively being pursued in many member countries.
Fyodor’s Urine Malaria Test (UMT) is the first product with the appropriate specifications to make diagnosis within 24 hours possible. The ability to diagnose malaria quickly and less expensively, and to treat only in the case of confirmed malaria, will translate into considerable savings in time, substantial reduction in overprescribed medicines and thus growing resistance to available antimalarial medicines, as well as associated healthcare costs and substantial and broader effects on economies. Thus, the impact of the UMT on national malaria control efforts and on Africa’s socio-economic development will be compelling.