Safety assessment in primary Mycobacterium tuberculosis smear microscopy centres in Blantyre Malawi: A facility based cross sectional survey
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis and is
transmitted mainly through aerosolization of infected sputum which
puts laboratory workers at risk in spite of the laboratory workersf risk of
infection being at 3 to 9 times higher than the general public. Laboratory
safety should therefore be prioritized and optimized to provide sufficient
safety to laboratory workers.
To assess the safety for the laboratory workers in TB primary microscopy
centres in Blantyre urban.
TB primary microscopy centers in Blantyre urban were assessed in
aspects of equipment availability, facility layout, and work practice, using
a standardized WHO/AFRO ISO 15189 checklist for the developing
countries which sets the minimum safety score at .80%. Each center was
graded according to the score it earned upon assessment.
Only one (1) microscopy center out nine (9) reached the minimum safety
requirement. Four (4) centers were awarded 1 star level, four (4) centers
were awarded 2 star level and only one (1) center was awarded 3 star level.
In Blantyre urban, 89% of the Tuberculosis microscopy centers are failing
to provide the minimum safety to the laboratory workers. Government
and other stake holders should be committed in addressing the safety
challenges of TB microscopy centres in the country to ensure safety for
the laboratory workers.
It is recommended that the study be conducted at the regional or national
level for both public and private laboratories in order to have a general
picture of safety in Tb microscopy centres possibly across the country.