Access Insights

20 Oct 2015

Supporting adherence to new malaria treatment with user-friendly materials

Clear and user-friendly communication materials are critical to improve treatment outcomes. There are a number of reasons why patients may not adhere to treatment nor complete the full course of medication. A study that examined adherence to an artemisinin-based combination therapy found that many patients stopped their medication once they felt better, or failed to complete the course because there were too many tablets.1 Others wanted to save some of the tablets for future episodes of malaria,1 as in many regions patients have to travel a long way to their first point of care. In addition, adherence to the dosing schedule may be negatively impacted when patients or caregivers struggle to understand dosing instructions.2

This can be particularly problematic in populations with low levels of literacy. Providing simple patient information and pictograms has been shown to improve adherence.3,4

In collaboration with in-country partners MMV has invested significant resources in designing and testing packaging and visual aids to help ensure that the drug administration process is clearly understood by both patients and health workers.


1. Lemma H et al. Adherence to a six-dose regimen of artemether-lumefantrine among uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum patients in the Tigray Region, Ethiopia. Malar J 2011; 10: 349.
2. Dowse R, and Ehlers M. Medicine labels incorporating pictograms: do they influence understanding and adherence? Patient Educ Couns 2005; 58 (1): 63–70.
3. Mansoor LE Dowse R. Medicines information and adherence in HIV/AIDS patients. J Clin Pharm Ther 2006; 31(1): 7-15.
4. Dowse R and Ehlers MS. Pictograms in pharmacy. Int J Pharm Pract 1998; 6: 109-118.