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Malakit: an innovative pilot project to self‑diagnose and self‑treat malaria among illegal gold miners in the Guiana Shield

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Illegal gold miners in French Guiana, a French overseas territory ('département') located in Amazonia, often carry malaria parasites (up to 46.8%). While the Guiana Shield Region aims at malaria elimination, the high prevalence of Plasmodium in this hard-to-reach population in conjunction with frequent incorrect use of artemisinin-based anti-malarials could favour the emergence of resistant parasites. Due to geographical and regulatory issues in French Guiana, usual malaria control strategies cannot be implemented in this particular context. Therefore, new strategies targeting this specific population in the forest are required. METHODS: Numerous discussions among health institutions and scientific partners from French Guiana, Brazil and Suriname have led to an innovative project based on the distribution of kits for self-diagnosis and self-treatment of Plasmodium infections. The kit-distribution will be implemented at "resting sites", which are areas across the border of French Guiana regularly frequented by gold miners. The main objective is to increase the appropriate use and complete malaria treatment after a positive malaria diagnosis with a rapid test, which will be evaluated with before-and-after cross-sectional studies. Monitoring indicators will be collected from health mediators at the time of kit distribution and during subsequent visits, and from illegal gold miners themselves, through a smartphone application. The project funding is multisource, including Ministries of Health of the three countries, WHO/PAHO, and the European Union. RESULTS: This project will start in April 2018 as a 18 month pilot study led by the Clinical Investigation Centre of Cayenne. Results should be available at the end of 2019. DISCUSSION: This innovative approach may have several limitations which should be taken into account, as potential side effects, kit misuse or resale, declarative main criteria, or no Plasmodium vivax curative treatment. Close monitoring is thus needed. CONCLUSIONS: This project may be the best available solution to a specific and important public health challenge in the Guiana Shield. If the use of self-diagnosis and self-treatment approach is effective, this strategy could be sustained by health institutions in the region.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 8:05:07 PM
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Maylis Douine, Alice Sanna, Muriel Galindo, Lise Musset, Vincent Pommier de Santi, et al.. Malakit: an innovative pilot project to self‑diagnose and self‑treat malaria among illegal gold miners in the Guiana Shield. Malaria Journal, 2018, 17, pp.158. ⟨10.1186/s12936-018-2306-5⟩. ⟨inserm-01819736⟩



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