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Table 1 Strengths and benefits of the different types of malaria surveys

From: Use of epidemiological and entomological tools in the control and elimination of malaria in Ethiopia

Type of malaria survey Benefits and strengths
Health facility survey Efficient means to collect basic epidemiological data such as numbers of malaria suspected patients, diagnosed (rapid diagnostic test, microscopy, molecular) cases, confirmed cases, deaths, impatient cases, impatient deaths and indictors such as test positivity rate, case incidence and mortality rate on a large number of cases [21, 35] Relatively cheap and easy method to collect longitudinal data on a large number of patients at different spatial and temporal scales [34] Provides temporal and spatial trends of the different malaria causing Plasmodium (Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale and P. malariae) parasites Provide temporal (daily, weekly, monthly and yearly) and spatial trends of malaria cases, admissions and deaths by age and sex [21]
School-based survey Capture temporal and spatial dynamic of malaria transmission which is inherently heterogeneous (unstable, seasonal, and linked to environmental variables such as altitude and rainfall) in Ethiopia [38] within a small and defined geographic scale Help to monitor and evaluate malaria control tools [38] Can help to trace focal outbreaks/epidemics
Sentinel site survey Provides a comprehensive and longitudinal data on malaria and its vectors [39] Serves to evaluate efficacy of anti-malarial drugs and insecticides [39] Captures data related to malaria morbidity, mortality, diagnosis and treatment in a predetermined time [27, 39] Keeps the timeliness of reporting data [39] Helps to detect malaria outbreaks [27] Informs routine program decision making on commodity stocks and malaria burden in catchment areas [27]
Cross-sectional survey Provides a comprehensive knowledge on coverage levels of preventive interventions (ITNs and IRS), fever case management practices, health-seeking behaviours, health status (under five mortality rate and anaemia), and parasite prevalence for clinical and subclinical malaria [34] Enables to identify most affected populations, trends of cases and deaths Helps to assess disease burden with parasite prevalence as the primary metrics Helps to respond to malaria epidemics and direct resources to populations most in need [33]
Mobile clinic survey Inform and prevent the spread of endemic and emerging diseases, in addition to malaria, in seasonal workers’ home-, employment- and travel route-communities [41, 42] Prevent establishment of disease transmission in new and previously disease free areas [41, 42] Document disease burden associated with seasonal workers [41, 42] Inform routine program decision-making on commodity stocks [41, 42]
Vector survey Generate data on the occurrence of species of malaria transmitting Anopheles mosquitoes [34] Inform human biting hours and preferred biting places of vectors for effective use of vector control interventions [34] Document spatial and temporal malaria transmission intensity; the entomological inoculation rate (EIR) [34] Document the insecticide susceptibility status of malaria vectors which is the most available control strategy Inform routine programme decision-making on the best vector intervention strategy