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COVACOM – Evaluating a strategy for rapid screening of Covid-19 by antigenic tests at community level


Optimising the fight against Covid-19 in Mali by introducing antigenic tests at community level



In Mali, as in many West African countries, screening for Covid-19 relied almost exclusively on PCR tests, which were only available in 4 laboratories, all located in Bamako. In addition to this limited access, the majority of PCRs were performed for travel purposes, leading to a minority of Covid-19 suspects being identified.

To address this issue, the ECoVAM project initially implemented a new screening strategy at the health centre level, based on a medical triage consultation and the use of rapid tests. This strategy has led to a sharp increase in Covid-19 screening, confirming the importance of SARS-CoV-2 circulation in communities in Mali and demonstrating a rapid, effective and more suitable screening solution than PCR, at all levels of the health pyramid.

Thus, to improve the national response plan against Covid-19, the COVACOM project succeeds the ECoVAM project in introducing this strategy at the community level. The use of SARS-CoV-2 Ag RDTs at the community level by community health workers can allow, thanks to their simplicity of use and rapidity, immediate screening of suspected cases as well as contact cases in order to identify clusters and limit the transmission of COVID-19 in the community The project will be carried out in 4 health zones in the Fana district, comprising a total of 35 community health workers.


Key information about the project

Duration of the project  9 months (March 2022 – Novembre 2022)
Ministry of Health and Social Development – UMRSS

National Institute of Public Health Research (INSP)

IRD (Institut de Recherche et Développement)

Beneficiaries  Malian Ministry of Health

25 community health workers, 38 community relays, 10 CSCOM health workers, 26433 inhabitants

Source of financing
Country of intervention  Mali

General objective

The project aims to evaluate, in comparison with the national reference strategy in Mali, the impact of a community-based screening strategy for SARS-CoV2 by antigenic tests in people with a clinical suspicion of Covid-19 and in contact cases in four health zones of the Fana district in Mali.

Different studies will be conducted in this perspective to :

  • Evaluate the feasibility of this screening strategy at community level for symptomatic patients and contact cases.
  • Assess the acceptability of this strategy by patients, community health workers, community leaders and national officials through a qualitative socio-anthropological study.
  • To model the cost-effectiveness of implementing this strategy in the Malian health system


Expected results

  • To provide concrete results of the implementation of this strategy to guide the Malian authorities in their strategic choices for the Covid-19 response plan.
  • To establish whether the use of antigenic tests at community level and by community health workers is an appropriate strategy in this context.
  • To assess the requirements and costs of deploying this strategy.


Dowload the project sheet

Know more about the Ecovam/Ecovan project

Associated contents

AFRAVIH 2024 – Poster on the fight against emerging pandemics (COVACOM study)


MALISTRENGTHENING SYSTEMS AND HEALTH SERVICESFighting Covid-19Infectious and emerging diseases

At the International Francophone Conference on HIV (AFRAVIH), Solthis presented a poster on the COVACOM project, focusing on the successful integration of antigenic tests for SARS-CoV-2 and community malaria in Mali. Discover our poster on this link. (in french)

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