Assessing the Operational Feasibility of Integrating Point-of-Care G6PD Testing into Plasmodium vivax Malaria Management in Vietnam
Plasmodium vivax cases represent more than 50% of a diminishing malaria case load in Vietnam. Safe and effective radical cure strategies could support malaria elimination by 2030. This study investigated the operational feasibility of introducing point-of-care quantitative glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) testing into malaria case management practices. A prospective interventional study was conducted at nine district hospitals and commune health stations in Binh Phuoc and Gia Lai provinces in Vietnam over the period of October 2020 to October 2021. The STANDARD™ G6PD Test (SD Biosensor, Seoul, Republic of Korea) was incorporated to inform P. vivax case management. Case management data and patient and health care provider (HCP) perspectives, as well as detailed cost data were collected. The G6PD test results were interpreted correctly by HCP and the treatment algorithm was adhered to for the majority of patients. One HCP consistently ran the test incorrectly, which was identified during the monitoring and resulted in provision of refresher training and updating of training materials and patient retesting. There was wide acceptability of the intervention among patients and HCP albeit with opportunities to improve the counseling materials. Increasing the number of facilities to which the test was deployed and decreases in the malaria cases resulted in higher per patient cost for incorporating G6PD testing into the system. Commodity costs can be reduced by using the 10-unit kits compared to the 25 unit kits, particularly when the case loads are low. These results demonstrate intervention feasibility while also highlighting specific challenges for a country approaching malaria elimination.