Study protocol for development of an options assessment toolkit (OAT) for national malaria programs in Asia Pacific to determine best combinations of vivax radical cure for their given contexts
Recent advances in G6PD deficiency screening and treatment are rapidly changing the landscape of radical cure of vivax malaria available for National Malaria Programs (NMPs). While NMPs await the WHO's global policy guidance on these advances, they will also need to consider different contextual factors related to the vivax burden, health system capacity, and resources available to support changes to their policies and practices. Therefore, we aim to develop an Options Assessment Toolkit (OAT) that enables NMPs to systematically determine optimal radical cure options for their given environments and potentially reduce decision-making delays. This protocol outlines the OAT development process.
Utilizing participatory research methods, the OAT will be developed in four phases where the NMPs and experts will have active roles in designing the research process and the toolkit. In the first phase, an essential list of epidemiological, health system, and political & economic factors will be identified. In the second phase, 2-3 NMPs will be consulted to determine the relative priority and measurability of these factors. These factors and their threshold criteria will be validated with experts using a modified e-Delphi approach. In addition, 4-5 scenarios representing country contexts in the Asia Pacific region will be developed to obtain the expert-recommended radical cure options for each scenario. In the third phase, additional components of OAT, such as policy evaluation criteria, latest information on new radical cure options, and others, will be finalized. The OAT will be pilot-tested with other Asia Pacific NMPs in the final phase.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION
Human Research Ethics Committee approval has been received from the Northern Territory, Department of Health, and Menzies School of Health Research (HREC Reference Number: 2022-4245). The OAT will be made available for the NMPs, introduced at the APMEN Vivax Working Group annual meeting, and reported in international journals.
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