Some rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) kits on the market, which assist in detecting malaria parasites in human blood, are not tested by National Drug Authority (NDA) to certify their quality. “There are two ways how RDTs kits enter the country. Some are tested by NDA and charged two percent as verification fee, while others are imported by traders directly without testing their quality from NDA [hence] they don’t have a verification certificate from NDA,” the executive director of HEPS-Uganda, Denis Kibira, says. “However the RDTs kits imported by traders are charged a 24 percent in taxes. This increases their costs and they become expensive for patients to test for malaria.” Kibira told The Observer last week during the commemoration of World Malaria day that expensive RDTs are to blame for people self-medicating without proper diagnosis. “It leads to misusing malaria drugs [and] increases drug resistance,” he said. “World Health Organisation and ministry of Health recommended ‘Test, Treat and Track malaria’ in 2012 and now 89 percent of malaria tests in the country are done using RDTs.”

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