Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 7

Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering these questions. Write your answers in your Study Diary and discuss them with your Tutor at the next Study Support Meeting. You can check your answers with the Notes on the Self-Assessment Questions at the end of this Module.

SAQ 7.1 (tests Learning Outcome 7.1)

What method is available to you at health post level to allow you to make a parasite-based diagnosis of malaria?


The RDT or Rapid Diagnostic Test for malaria is available at health post level.

SAQ 7.2 (tests Learning Outcome 7.2)

Malaria is rare in your village. However, a 25 year-old male comes to your health post complaining of loss of appetite and muscle aches. You suspect malaria, but you don’t have an RDT kit to confirm your diagnosis. What questions should you ask him to either exclude malaria as a possible diagnosis, or decide that you should treat him for malaria?


You would ask him about his travel history to malaria-endemic areas in the last two weeks. You would also ask him if he has had fever in the last two to three days.

SAQ 7.3 (tests Learning Outcome 7.2)

A five-year-old child comes to your health post with fever. He was tested with an RDT and the result was positive for falciparum malaria. Before treating and sending him home, you have to check for signs of severe malaria in case he needs a referral. What are the signs and symptoms you would look for?


The danger signs of severe malaria are anaemia, convulsions, repeated vomiting, high fever (>39˚C), shivering, sweating, severe dehydration, drowsiness or confusion, and reduced urine output.

SAQ 7.4 (tests Learning Outcome 7.3)

You have learned that RDT and microscopy are two simple and useful methods to diagnose malaria. List two important advantages of RDT over microscopy.


  • The RDT is simpler than microscopy and can be easily handled at health post level, whereas microscopy tests can only be done at a health centre.
  • RDT results are ready within 15–20 minutes, whereas microscopy tests may take much longer as the patient has to go to the health centre.

SAQ 7.5 (tests Learning Outcome 7.4)

You are confronted with more than 20 fever cases in the community around your health post at the same time. You will test all patients with RDTs for malaria. What do you do to avoid any mix-up of results?


Write each patient’s name on the RDT cassette to avoid mixing-up the results if you have to do several tests at the same time.

SAQ 7.6 (tests Learning Outcome 7.4)

List the precautions you need to take to avoid contaminating yourself and your patients with another person’s blood, when performing an RDT for malaria.


  • Wear gloves when handling blood from patients.
  • Use one pair of gloves for each patient.
  • Swab the patient’s finger with alcohol before and after pricking it with the lancet.
  • Use one lancet for each patient.
  • Dispose of the lancet and gloves safely immediately after use.

SAQ 7.7 (tests Learning Outcome 7.5)

You treated the five-year-old child positive for falciparum malaria in SAQ 7.3, according to the national guideline. The child comes back after three days with fever and you again test him with an RDT. The patient was again positive for falciparum malaria.

  • a.What will be your next action?
  • b.What are the advantages of microscopy over RDTs?


  • a.Refer the child to the health centre for microscopic examination of his blood; RDT positive results after three days of anti-malaria treatment are not reliable, because RDTs can give a positive test up to two weeks after treatment.
  • b.The advantages of microscopy over RDT are:
    • Microscopy can tell you if parasites are cleared and a patient is cured immediately after anti-malarial treatment.
    • Microscopy can tell you the number of parasites in the patient’s blood; a high number of parasites could mean a high risk of developing severe complicated malaria.

Summary of Study Session 7