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Background: Malaria remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality, thus there is need for quick, reliable inexpensive diagnostic tool to facilitate its prompt treatment especially in resource poor settings.
Objectives: To compare the sensitivity of a locally available Histidinerich protein-2 based rapid diagnostic test (RDT) with the standard microscopy.
Methods: This study was carried out to test the performance of an histidine rich protein -2 rapid diagnostic test (RDT) against the standard microscopy in the diagnosis of malaria among febrile under-five children attending Paediatric Clinic of NAUTH Nnewi. A total of 200 children under the age of five years were recruited for the study. Data on socio-demographic characteristics and symptoms were collected through an interviewer administered questionnaire. Blood sample was collected in EDTA bottle after observing universal precautions. All of them were tested with both Giemsa stained blood smear and Histidine rich protein-2 (HRP-2) rapid diagnostic test (RDT).
Results: There were 118 males and 82 females, giving a male: female ratio of 1.44:1. Their ages ranged from 3-59 months and the average age was 27+17.49 months. Average number of days the subjects had fever before presentation were 3.78+1.95 days with a range of 1- 14 days. Body temperature ranged from 35.9-40.40C with average of 37.7+0.80C. Forty (20%) were positive by microscopy while 42 (21%) were positive by rapid diagnostic test. Twenty-percent of those positive by microscopy (n=8) were negative by RDT while 23.8% of those positive by RDT (n=10) were negative by microscopy. Using microscopy as a gold standard, the sensitivity of the RDT was 80%, the specificity was 93.8%. The positive and negative predictive values were 76.2% and 94.9% respectively.
Conclusion: Based on these findings, the RDT demonstrated reasonable concordance with microscopy and was recommended for use at every level of healthcare in the diagnosis of malaria.
Keywords: Malaria, RDT, Microscopy, under- five.