Photograph by Frederic Courbet
A laboratory technician in Somalia tests a sample of blood for evidence of the malaria parasite.
Poor diagnosis of malaria stands in the way of combating the disease, which kills nearly half a million people around the world every year. Diagnosis by microscopy requires a stable source of light and a trained laboratory technician - resources that many health facilities in malaria-endemic regions simply do not have.
In recent years, rapid diagnostic tests for malaria have become a popular alternative to microscopy, as these don't require electricity or laboratory technicians. But rapid diagnostic tests aren't perfect either - they often produce false positive results and may not be able to detect infections with lower numbers of malaria parasites. So far, innovations to combat malaria have not been able to completely replace a strong health workforce.