Global Health Partners Launch Point-of-Care Key Considerations and Toolkit

Global health partners are pleased to announce the launch of two important resources for countries implementing HIV molecular testing: Key Considerations for Introducing New HIV Point-of-Care Diagnostic Technologies in National Health Systems , and the HIV Point-of-Care Diagnostics Toolkit

With the increasing availability and rapidly growing interest in point-of-care (POC) molecular technologies for early infant diagnosis (EID) and viral load (VL) testing, many countries in Africa have introduced and are scaling up routine POC EID, and are also considering the targeted use of POC VL testing within their national health programs. These include countries such as Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

POC EID is a game changer in global efforts to end pediatric AIDS. The sustainable integration of POC EID technologies in national diagnostics systems can accelerate much needed progress towards achieving the 90-90-90 fast track targets for pediatric HIV. In 2016, only 43 percent of all
HIV-exposed babies were tested for HIV within the recommended first two months of life and only 43 percent of children living with HIV received life-saving ART. Timely diagnosis and treatment is especially critical for infants infected in utero among whom mortality peaks in the first 2-3 months of life. Reaching the ambitious 90- 90-90 targets requires a paradigm shift and innovative approaches. By allowing for the rapid return of HIV test results to caregivers and timely ART initiation, POC EID technologies have been shown to close the pediatric HIV diagnosis and treatment gap.
To address the rapidly growing interest from countries, global health partners developed the following two complementary resources to support countries with planning, piloting, and integrating new POC diagnostic technologies into their national health programs. These resources are based on robust implementation experience from more than 10 countries, and on the technical expertise of a variety of stakeholders.
  • Key Considerations for Introducing New HIV Point-of-Care Diagnostic Technologies in National Health Systems is available in both English and French and covers an array of topics across the planning and implementation continuum of POC HIV diagnostics, including policy and framework development; strategy and planning; regulations; quality assurance and data management; procurement and supply chain management; and monitoring and evaluation.
  • HIV Point-of-Care Diagnostics Toolkit contains various practical tools and guidance to support countries with planning and integration of POC HIV diagnostics into national laboratory networks. Developed through a joint inter-agency consensus-building process and hosted by the Learning Collaborative on UNICEF’s Children and AIDS website, the Toolkit currently consists of four modules: Product and Site Selection; Forecasting and Supply Planning; Regulations; and Quality Assurance. Additional modules are under development.

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