12.3  Preparedness for malaria epidemics

As you have learned above, malaria epidemics can be triggered by a variety of factors, making it difficult to predict an occurrence. As malaria epidemics could occur in all malaria prone areas at any time, you need to be prepared for them at all times.

At Health Post level, preparedness includes having a stock of anti-malarial drugs, RDTs, insecticides and other supplies that are important to prevent or contain a malaria epidemic, in addition to the amount that is required for normal situations. This added amount (25% of the annual need) is called a contingency stock. You must keep the contingency stock in your store for use during epidemics. Following an epidemic, the contingency stock should be replenished.

  • If the usual annual requirement of the anti-malarial drug Coartem for your village is 800 doses, calculate the contingency requirement for the year. What is the total requirement of Coartem for your Health Post?

  • The contingency requirement is 200 doses. (To calculate the contingency multiply 800 by 25% or by 0.25. This gives 200 doses.) The total doses of Coartem required for the year for your Health Post is therefore 800+200 which is equal to 1,000 doses.

In this way, you should calculate the contingency stock for all the drugs and supplies listed in Box 12.1 below, and keep them in your store. If an epidemic does not occur, make sure you use the contingency stock before the expiry date.

Box 12.1  List of drugs and supplies needed in your contingency stock for a possible malaria epidemic

  • Chloroquine tablets
  • Chloroquine syrup
  • Coartem tablets
  • Quinine tablets
  • Artemether injections
  • Artesunate suppositories
  • Multi-species Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs)
  • Insecticides for indoor residual spraying (IRS)
  • Temephos for larval control.

12.2.3  Parasite factors

12.4  Prevention of epidemics