ACTwatch was a multi-country research project designed to collate and disseminate information related to malaria diagnostics, antimalarial medicines and fever case management. Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is the recommended treatment of P. falciparum malaria, and measuring the scope of ACT treatment is a key part of global health research. The ACTwatch project consisted of outlet surveys, household surveys, and supply chain research. Surveys were conducted in thirteen malaria-endemic countries - eight in sub-Saharan Africa and five in Southeast Asia, which represent a wide variety of settings.

The outlet surveys processed nationally representative surveys of all public and private health outlets (within selected regions) with the potential to sell antimalarial drugs, from hospitals to private pharmacies to street hawkers. The household surveys examined trends in the levels of household use of different antimalarials and their source. It also identified the determinants of use of antimalarials (i.e. treatment-seeking behaviour). Supply chain research identified factors relating to the price and availability of antimalarials at different levels within the supply chain.

The data is intended to inform evidence-based malaria control policies and programmes – both at the country-specific level and, through the use of standardized indicators, through the broader identification of trends allowing for global policy recommendations to be created and implemented.

The project was led by PSI in partnership with LSHTM and collected data from 2008 - 2017. Since mid 2017 the ACTwatch data was hosted by the Malaria Atlas Project, as part of their wider Malaria data dissemination role.  

Three different types of dataset are currently available for download, as follows.

Summary data

These files provide an overall listing of all the unique antimalarials and RDT (rapid diagnostic tests for malaria) identified across all the ACTwatch surveys. These files can be used for obtaining quick information on the types of antimalarial and RDT products available.

The Antimalarial dataset contains a comprehensive list of all antimalarials found in surveyed outlets in countries, including information about brand name, manufacturer, antimalarial category, generic name, formulation, country and year found.

The RDT dataset contains a comprehensive list of all RDTs found in surveyed outlets in countries, including brand name, manufacturer, antigen, parasite species, country and year found.

Indicator tables

These two files provide a range of different summaries of the survey data, known as indicators. The data in these two files are in many cases also published as tables within the reports or reference documents for individual surveys (see below). The data in these files can be derived from the “raw” data files (available below) but are provided here for greater ease of use.

The Availability and Price tables provide a number of key indicators or summaries from all the ACTwatch surveys, all relating to the availability and price of antimalarials across the outlets surveyed.

The Market Share tables provide summaries derived from individual surveys, breaking down the proportion of the antimalarial market in that country at the time of the survey that was occupied by different antimalarial products, categorised by the type of the product.

Country Survey data files

These files represent the full ACTwatch datasets for each survey. By their nature these datasets are the most complex and difficult to use, and several files are included within each download.

For each survey (country and year) we provide a .ZIP archive file for download. Each of these archives contains at least three and possibly more files:

  • The survey data are contained in a Stata format file with the extension “.dta”, such as “Madagascar 2015.dta”.
  • The description of the variables in the stata files are contained in a codebook, which is provided as an Excel spreadsheet such as “Madagascar 2015 codebook.xlsx”.
  • A summary of how to use and interpret the ACTwatch data is provided in a PDF file called “ACTwatch Project guidance document 20170427 Final.pdf”.
  • When available, the survey report itself is provided as a PDF file, such as “Madagascar 2015 OS Reference Document.pdf”.
  • When available, the questionnaire used for the survey is provided as a Word file, such as “MADA_OS_Eng_Questionnaire_2015.08.18.docx”.

It is important to note that the raw Stata-format file contains data at different “levels” – either outlet or product level. That is, some rows in the file give information about an outlet that was selling antimalarials, and other rows give information about an antimalarial that was on sale. Therefore the columns that are populated vary by row. The codebook should be carefully studied to understand which are which.

Click on the files below to access survey data for each country for the years where surveys were carried out.


Dr Megan Littrell, Dr Paul Bouanchaud and colleagues at PSI.