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Laboratory diagnosis of malaria in children under five years in a rural community: microscopy versus malaria PF test

CP Enwuru
SI Umeh
UM Abasi
RC Egbuobi


The morbidity and mortality associated with malaria in children below 5 years is really worrisome especially in the rural communities with little or no laboratory diagnostic facilities. This study was carried out to compare microscopy with Malaria Pf test for the diagnosis of malaria in a rural community in Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State. Two hundred and fifty blood smears of children below 5 years were stained with Giemsa and examined microscopically for malaria parasites. Also the Malaria Pf rapid diagnostic test was used to test the same blood samples for malaria antigens. Thirty two per cent of the blood samples were positive for malaria parasite. Compared with microscopy, the sensitivity of the Malaria Pf test was 90.0%, the specificity was 98.2%. The positive predictive value was 96.0% and negative predictive value was 95.4%. The Malaria Pf test is reliable in the parasite based diagnosis of malaria in children under 5 years. We recommend the application of this test for parasitological confirmation of malaria in all places where it is not possible to provide facilities for good quality microscopy especially in the rural communities.