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The World in Medicine
September 21, 2011

Texting and Malaria Treatment

JAMA. 2011;306(11):1191. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1310

Text-message reminders sent to health workers' mobile phones can improve the management of malaria treatment in children, report researchers from Kenya, the United Kingdom, and the United States (Zurovac D et al. Lancet. 2011;378[9793]:795-803).

From March 2009 through May 2010, the investigators randomized 119 health workers from 107 rural health facilities in coastal and western Kenya to either an intervention group that received text message reminders or to a control group that did not receive them. The text messages, sent twice each working day for 6 months, each included a recommendation about pediatric malaria case management from national guidelines as well as an inspirational quote. Case management practices were assessed for 2269 children who received artemisinin combination therapies (ACT)—1157 cases in the intervention group and 1112 in the control group. Text message reminders improved ACT management by 23.7 percentage points immediately after the end of the 6-month intervention period and by 24.5 percentage points 6 months later.

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