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Improving the Quality of HIV-Related Point-of-Care Testing: Ensuring Reliability and Accuracy of Test Results

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Publication details: 
Geneva, WHO, 2015

This handbook has been created to address the weaknesses identified in existing point-of-care testing programmes and to assist service providers in adhering to a new set of minimum standards that promote and ensure quality assurance for HIV related point-of-care testing. These new minimum standards include (a) greater emphasis on certification of point-of-care testing staff and sites; (b) enhancing quality assurance human resource networks for point-of-care testing supervision, data collection and corrective action; and (c) establishing more comprehensive data collection analysis through innovations in
data connectivity.

It describes the quality assurance cycle, a three-phased process developed to assist health-care providers and stakeholders in planning, implementing and sustaining quality assurance for HIV-related point-of-care testing. The activities recommended in this handbook follow the flow of the three-phased quality assurance cycle.

In addition, the annexes include tools for implementing quality assurance programmes. Key inclusions are the checklists for the stepwise process for improving the quality of rapid testing (Annex 1) and for instrument-based point-of-care testing (Annex 2). These checklists enable quality assurance performance to be assessed at all testing sites, which can then be used to monitor and improve quality over time at the site level and the national level. In addition, special consideration boxes are provided for quality assurance of point-of-care testing in specific programme areas including hepatitis, HIV testing and counselling, children, preventing mother-to-child transmission, sexually transmitted infections and tuberculosis (Annex 16).

This handbook is a valuable resource to engage and to assist health ministry HIV programme managers, donors and test providers in the planning, implementation and sustainability of quality assurance for HIV-related point-of-care testing.