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The effectiveness of Rapid Diagnostic Test Kit (RDT) was compared with microscopy for the evaluation of malaria infection in children and pregnant women attending two selected health facilities in Lagos State, south-western, Nigeria. A total of 482 patients comprising 252 pregnant women (mean age: 26.86±4.46 years) and 230 children (mean age 24.31±18.19 months) were sampled between November 2010 and August 2011. The prevalence of infection observed in this study was 30% and 6.7% by microscopy in children and pregnant women respectively while RDT showed prevalence of 24.3% and 4.8% in children and pregnant women respectively. The evaluation of RDT showed high specificity of 95.7% and 98.7% for children and pregnant women respectively and low sensitivity of 71.0% and 52.9% for children and pregnant women respectively. The difference in the prevalence of malaria infection detected by microscopy and RDT was statistically significant (p=0.000). This study showed that RDT was not as sensitive as microscopy in the detection of malaria infection in the study-area.
Keywords: malaria, microscopy, RDT, pregnant women, Nigeria.