laboratory systems

To improve tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis, many national TB programmes have committed to deploying Xpert® MTB/RIF. Implementation of this relatively new technology has suffered from a lack of comprehensive technical assistance, however, including the formulation of policies and plans to address operational issues. While providing technical assistance, we observed numerous operational challenges in the implementation and scale-up of Xpert in five sub-Saharan African countries: low coverage, poor laboratory infrastructure, limited access, poor linkages to treatment, inadequate data on outcomes, problems with specimen transport, diagnostic algorithms that are not aligned with updated World Health Organization recommendations on target patient groups and financing challenges. We recommend better country preparedness and training, laboratory information and quality systems, supply management and referral mechanisms.

The diagnosis of malaria in clinical laboratories mainly depends on blood smear microscopy, and this technique remains the most widely used in Ethiopia. Despite the importance of blood smear microscopy for patients’ diagnosis and treatment, little effort has been made to precisely determine and identify sources of error in malaria smear microscopic diagnosis and quantification of parasitaemia. The main objective of the present study was to assess the laboratory practices of health care laboratories carrying out blood films microscopy. A cross-sectional study was conducted in northwestern Ethiopia involving 29 health care institutes. A structured and pretested questionnaire was used to collect relevant information on the physical conditions, laboratory logistics, and laboratory practices carrying out blood smear microscopy. In most of the health care laboratories studied, availability of laboratory logistics and technical practices for malaria microscopy were found to be below the standard set by World Health Organization. Improving logistics access for malaria microscopy at all level of health care is important to increase accuracy of diagnosis and quantification of malaria parasites. Moreover, continued training and regular supervision of the staff and implementation of quality control program in the area are also crucial.

Printer Friendly Version
Subscribe to RSS - laboratory systems