Experience and confidence in health technologies: evidence from malaria testing and treatment in Western Kenya.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Low adoption of effective health technologies increases illness morbidity and mortality worldwide. In the case of malaria, effective tools such as malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and artemisinin-combination therapies (ACTs) are both under-used and used inappropriately. Individuals' confidence in RDTs and ACTs likely affects the uptake of these tools. METHODS: In a cohort of 36 households (280 individuals) in Western Kenya observed for 30 months starting in June 2017, we examined if experience with RDTs and ACTs changes people's beliefs about these technologies and how those beliefs affect treatment behavior. Household members requested a free RDT from the study team any time they suspected a malaria illness, and positive RDT results were treated with a free ACT. We conducted annual, monthly, and sick visit surveys to elicit beliefs about the accuracy of malaria RDT results and the effectiveness of ACTs. Beliefs were elicited on a 5-point Likert scale from "very unlikely" to "very likely." RESULTS: Over the study period, the percentage of survey respondents that said a hypothetical negative RDT result was "very likely" to be correct increased from approximately 55% to 75%. Controlling for initial beliefs, people who had been tested at least once with an RDT in the past year had 3.6 times higher odds (95% CI [1 1.718 7.679], P = 0.001) of saying a negative RDT was "very likely" to be correct. Confidence in testing was associated with treatment behavior: those who believed a negative RDT was "very likely" to be correct had 1.78 times higher odds (95% CI [1.079 2.934], P = 0.024) of adhering to a negative RDT result (by not taking ACTs) than those who were less certain about the accuracy of negative RDTs. Adherence to a negative test also affected subsequent beliefs: controlling for prior beliefs, those who had adhered to their previous test result had approximately twice the odds (OR = 2.19, 95% CI [1.661 2.904], P < 0.001) of saying that a hypothetical negative RDT was "very likely" to be correct compared to those who had not adhered. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that greater experience with RDTs can not only increase people's confidence in their accuracy but also improve adherence to the test result.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mangeni, JN; Abel, L; Taylor, SM; Obala, A; O'Meara, WP; Saran, I

Published Date

  • September 6, 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 1689 -

PubMed ID

  • 36068516

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC9446607

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-2458

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1186/s12889-022-14102-y


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England