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Background: Malaria presents a diagnostic challenge in most tropical countries including Rwanda. Microscopy remains the gold standard for diagnosing malaria, however, it is labour intensive and depends upon the skill of the examiner. Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (MRDTs) have been developed as an easy, convenient alternative to microscopy.
Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted from October to November 2019 on 130 febrile patients who were directed to the laboratory department for blood screening for malaria parasites at Byumba Health centre. The main objective of this study was to correlate Microscopy and MRDTs in diagnosis of malaria.
Results: After signing a consent form, Blood samples were collected and screened for malaria parasites microscopically and by using MRDTs. Data collection forms were filled with relevant information and obtained results for MRDTs and for peripheral blood smear were recorded. The collected data were statistically analyzed using GraphPad Prism 9 software. The mean age found to be 16 years old. In this study peripheral blood smear microscopy was considered as a reference method. The sensitivity and specificity of RDT Histidine–Rich Protein 2 (HRP-2) were calculated and found to be 96.6% and 60% respectively. The negative predictive value was found to be 92.85% where positive predictive value was 73.3%.
Conclusion: MRDTs should be used along with microscopy to avert complications associated with delayed diagnosis and similar studies are required to identify alternative techniques with high specificity for the diagnosis of malaria.