PROGRESSYear 1 Completed
Year 1 of the project has been completed and during this period the consortium has worked towards establishing the different study protocols (for the clinical study and the health-economics study), which will be submitted for ethical review to appropriate bodies in the five African countries where the evaluation will take place. Next to this we have developed several project related documents, including a monitoring plan, a data management plan and a dissemination, networking and communication plan. Furthermore, an inventory was made for the training needs of the different participating institutes. This was translated into a training programme, which will be implemented early 2021. Finally, a first exploration of the diagnostic market situation and opportunities to bring the platform to market was performed. Although the Covid-19 situation is disrupting many activities worldwide, it has so far had no huge impact on the progress of the DIAGMAL project. The project progress is well in line with the planned activities. The next phase of the project will be the ethical review of our study protocols, the training of research staff and the actual start of the field work.
Malaria Microscopy Refresher Training and Competence Assessment In January 2021, Amref Health Africa in Kenya, the DIAGMAL consortium member responsible for providing refresher training in laboratory techniques, conducted two one-week practical-based courses on malaria microscopy for nine key research staff from each of the consortium countries. The first week focused on refresher training in basic malaria microscopy techniques including blood sample collection, preparation of blood films, blood film examination, quality assurance and safety issues. During the second week, participants underwent the World Health Organization External Competence Assessment of Malaria Microscopists which measures performance against global standards for malaria parasite detection, parasite species identification and parasite quantitation. These training courses were at aimed at strengthening the capacity of laboratory staff who will support the DIAGMAL project in comparing the mini-dbPCR-NALFIA against routine diagnostic procedures for malaria (microscopy and RDT).