Microscopy is the gold standard for malaria epidemiology, but laboratory and point-of-care (POC) tests detecting parasite antigen, DNA, and human antibodies against malaria have expanded this capacity. The island nation of Haiti is endemic for Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) malaria, though at a low national prevalence and heterogenous geospatial distribution. In 2015 and 2016, serosurveys were performed of children (ages 6–7 years) sampled in schools in Saut d’Eau commune (n = 1,230) and Grand Anse department (n = 1,664) of Haiti.
Accurate malaria diagnosis is foundational for control and elimination, and Haiti relies on histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2)–based rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) identifying Plasmodium falciparum in clinical and community settings. In 2017, 1 household and 2 easy-access group surveys tested all participants (N = 32 506) by conventional and high-sensitivity RDTs. A subset of blood samples (n = 1154) was laboratory tested for HRP2 by bead-based immunoassay and for P. falciparum 18S rDNA by photo-induced electron transfer polymerase chain reaction.
Haiti and the Dominican Republic (DR) are targeting malaria elimination by 2022. The private health sector has been relatively unengaged in these efforts, even though most primary health care in Haiti is provided by non-state actors, and many people use traditional medicine. Data on private health sector participation in malaria elimination efforts are lacking, as are data on care-seeking behaviour of patients in the private health sector. This study sought to describe the role of private health sector providers, care-seeking behaviour of individuals at high risk of malaria, and possible means of engaging the private health sector in Hispaniola’s malaria elimination efforts.
The Plasmodium falciparum parasite is the only human malaria that produces the histidine-rich protein 2 and 3 (HRP2/3) antigens. Currently, HRP2/3 are widely used in malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), but several global reports have recently emerged showing genetic deletion of one or both of these antigens in parasites. Deletion of these antigens could pose a major concern for P. falciparum diagnosis in Haiti which currently uses RDTs based solely on the detection of the HRP2/3 antigens.