Conference abstract

Perceptions of point-of-care testing in a low-income setting: a qualitative study from Western Uganda

Pan African Medical Journal - Conference Proceedings. 2018:9(32).27 Dec 2018.
doi: 10.11604/pamj-cp.2018.9.32.759

Contact the corresponding author
Keywords: Point-of-care tests, Low income settings, Mbarara district

Perceptions of point-of-care testing in a low-income setting: a qualitative study from Western Uganda

Reza Rasti1,2,&, Deborah Nanjebe3, Jonas Karlström4, Charles Muchunguzi5, Juliet Mwanga-Amumpaire3,5, Jesper Gantelius1,6, Andreas Mårtensson7, Lourdes Rivas6, Francesc Galban6, Philippa Reuterswärd6, Helene Andersson Svahn6, Helle Mölsted Alvesson1, Yap Boum II3,5, Tobias Alfvén1,2

1Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, 2Sachs’Children and Youth Hospital, South General Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, 3Epicentre Mbarara Research Center, Mbarara, Uganda, 4UNICEF, Health Section, New York, 5Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Mbarara, Uganda, 6Division of Proteomics and Nano Biotechnology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Science for Life Laboratory, Stockholm, Sweden, 7Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

&Corresponding author
Reza Rasti, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Sachs’ Children and Youth Hospital, South General Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden


Introduction: recent years have shown an increasing availability and use of point-of-care (POC) tests. Such tests have brought clinical capacities to low-income health systems, where they were previously limited. Large scale POC testing programs hold great potential for significant improvement in health systems of low-income countries (LICs). However, since most POC tests are developed in high-income countries, disengagement between developers and end-users in LICs inhibit their full potential. This study explores perceptions of POC tests amongst end-users in a LIC, aiming to support development of novel POC tests adapted to their setting.

Methods: a qualitative focus group study was conducted in Mbarara district, South Western Uganda in October 2014. Fifty health care workers were included in seven focus groups and were engaged in audio-recorded discussions that were later transcribed. Transcripts were coded through a data-driven approach for qualitative content analysis.

Results: nineteen different POC tests were identified as currently in use. Participants described themselves accustomed to and appreciative of the use of POC tests, at the same time assessing the use and characteristics of current tests as imperfect. They characterized an ideal POC test as being adapted to local conditions, thoughtfully implemented in the specific health system, and capable of improving the care of patients. Specific tests were requested. Opinions differed regarding the ideal distribution of POC tests in the local health system.

Conclusion: POC tests are well established in the health system of this study setting. Even though they are highly appreciated by participants, there are dissatisfactions with current POC tests and their use. By including end-user perspectives when developing and implementing POC tests to health systems, the usability of POC tests will be maximized. Insights from this study will influence our ongoing efforts to develop POC tests for paediatric infections, with particular usability in low-income settings.