Improving the supply of insecticide test kits in the fight against malaria

Improving the supply of insecticide test kits in the fight against malaria


World Health Organisation (WHO)







The Issue

Resistance to insecticides is a growing threat to the fight against malaria, which is endemic in 96 countries. In response, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed standard testing for detecting insecticide resistance and provides test kits, which are only produced by the Vector Control Research Unit (VCRU), Universiti Sains Malaysia. Demand for the kits has risen sharply in recent years as stakeholders recognize the importance of testing for the effective control of malaria.

The increase in demand and other issues have posed a challenge to timely supplies of kits from VCRU. As a result, WHO commissioned Tropical Health experts to examine these challenges and propose solutions.

Our Approach

Tropical Health examined procurement, production, customer service and delivery processes at VCRU as well as the costs, funding and revenue to identify the issues affecting production and supply of WHO test kits. Tropical Health reviewed reports on VCRU’s work, developed a quantitative data collection tool, conducted 28 interviews with VCRU customers and stakeholders, and visited VCRU.

Based on this quantitative and qualitative information, Tropical Health produced an in-depth analysis of the challenges to timely supply to customers and provided concrete recommendations to rectify the issues, improve supply to customers worldwide, and ensure VCRU’s future.

Our Findings

Using a root cause analysis approach, Tropical Health laid out the issues with supply, production, and delivery as well as financing in a 69-page report. Based on this analysis, Tropical Health made concrete recommendations on how to structure VCRU’s existing capacity more efficiently, increase production capacity, and finance the necessary capital investment for these to be achieved. Tropical Health recommended a set of 17 steps, in order of urgency, to solve these issues. While VCRU is based in Malaysia, the test kits are provided to numerous countries around the world to carry out insecticide resistance detection and monitoring programmes that are crucial to WHO’s work. Tropical Health’s recommendations aim to help streamline supply to ensure the effectiveness of these programmes.