The implementation of an external quality assurance method for point- of- care tests for HIV and syphilis in Tanzania.


Smit, PW; Mabey, D; van der Vlis, T; Korporaal, H; Mngara, J; Changalucha, J; Todd, J; Peeling, RW; (2013) The implementation of an external quality assurance method for point- of- care tests for HIV and syphilis in Tanzania. BMC Infect Dis, 13. p. 530. ISSN 1471-2334 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2334-13-530

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Abstract

BACKGROUND External quality assurance (EQA) programmes, which are routinely used in laboratories, have not been widely implemented for point-of- care tests (POCTs). A study was performed in ten health centres in Tanzania, to implement the use of dried blood spots (DBS) as an EQA method for HIV and syphilis (POCTs). METHOD DBS samples were collected for retesting at a reference laboratory and the results compared to the POCT results obtained at the clinic. In total, 2341 DBS samples were collected from 10 rural health facilities over a period of nine months, of which 92.5% were correctly collected and spotted. RESULTS The EQA method was easily implemented by healthcare workers under routine conditions in Northern Tanzania. For HIV, 967 out of 972 samples (99.5%) were concordant between DBS and POCT results. For syphilis, the sensitivity of syphilis tests varied between clinics with a median of 96% (25th and 75th quartile; 95-98%). The specificity of syphilis POCT was consistent compared to laboratory based test using DBS, with a median of 96% (25th and 75th quartiles; 95-98%). CONCLUSION Overall, the quality of testing varied at clinics and EQA results can be used to identify clinics where healthcare workers require remedial training, suggesting the necessity for stringent quality assurance programmes for POC testing. As Tanzania embarks on scaling up HIV and syphilis testing, DBS can be a useful and robust tool to monitor the quality of testing performed by healthcare workers and trigger corrective action to ensure accuracy of test results.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Clinical Research
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Population Studies (1974-2012)
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
Research Centre: HIV Research Group
Centre for Maternal, Reproductive and Child Health (MARCH)
Population Studies Group
PubMed ID: 24206624
Web of Science ID: 328905700004
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/1472166

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