Evaluating quality management systems for HIV rapid testing services in primary healthcare clinics in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Rapid HIV tests have improved access to HIV diagnosis and treatment by providing quick and convenient testing in rural clinics and resource-limited settings. In this study, we evaluated the quality management system for voluntary and provider-initiated point-of-care HIV testing in primary healthcare (PHC) clinics in rural KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa.

We conducted a quality assessment audit in eleven PHC clinics that offer voluntary HIV testing and counselling in rural KZN, South Africa from August 2015 to October 2016. All the participating clinics were purposively selected from the province-wide survey of diagnostic services. We completed an on-site monitoring checklist, adopted from the WHO guidelines for assuring accuracy and reliability of HIV rapid tests, to assess the quality management system for HIV rapid testing at each clinic. To determine clinic’s compliance to WHO quality standards for HIV rapid testing the following quality measure was used, a 3-point scale (high, moderate and poor). A high score was defined as a percentage rating of 90 to 100%, moderate was defined as a percentage rating of 70 to 90%, and poor was defined as a percentage rating of less than 70%. Clinic audit scores were summarized and compared. We employed Pearson pair wise correlation coefficient to determine correlations between clinics audit scores and clinic and clinics characteristics. Linear regression model was computed to estimate statistical significance of the correlates. Correlations were reported as significant at p ≤0.05.

Nine out of 11 audited rural PHC clinics are located outside 20Km of the nearest town and hospital. Majority (18.2%) of the audited rural PHC clinics reported that HIV rapid test was performed by HIV lay counsellors. Overall, ten clinics were rated moderate, in terms of their compliance to the stipulated WHO guidelines. Audit results showed that rural PHC clinics’ average rating score for compliance to the WHO guidelines ranged between 64.4% (CI: 44%– 84%) and 89.2% (CI: 74%– 100%).Ten out of eleven of the clinics were rated as moderate (70–89%). All clinic have scored highest for the following audit component: equipment; process control and specimen management; and facility ad safety, with 100%. Clinics obtained the lowest scores for the assessment audit component followed by process improvement and organisation, with 40.9% (CI: 15.7–66.1%), 45.5% (CI: 10.4–80.5%) and 56.8% (CI: 31.8 81.8%), respectively. A statistically significant correlation was observed between the following: category of staff performing the HIV rapid tests in the audited clinics and service and satisfactory audit component; weekly average number of patients using the audited PHC clinics and service and satisfactory audit component; number of HIV lay counsellors in the audited clinics and quality control audit component with p<0.05.

Jaya Z, Drain PK, Mashamba-Thompson TP
PLoS One
Publication Date: 
August, 2017
IBN number: