Reporting the findings of a cluster randomized trial carried out in rural Kenya, Beth Kangwana and colleagues find that provision of packs of the malaria therapy artemether-lumefantrine in shops at a subsidized price more than doubled the proportion of children with fever who received drugs promptly.
Importantly, whilst enabling cheap and easy purchase of malaria treatment in shops enabled treatment of about 44% of children with fever, this is still much lower than the target of treating 80% of children with fever set by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.
So in addition to this type of pragmatic solution to the problem of access to drugs, additional strategies will be required to boost the numbers of children with fever who are treated with antimalarials.
Kangwana BP, Kedenge SV, Noor AM, Alegana VA, Nyandigisi AJ, et al. (2011) The Impact of Retail-Sector Delivery of ArtemetherLumefantrine on Malaria Treatment of Children under Five in Kenya: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. PLoS Med 8(5): e1000437. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000437