Implementation of Xpert MTB/RIF for routine point-of-care diagnosis of tuberculosis at the primary care level
AbstractXpert MTB/RIF (Xpert) offers rapid detection of Mycobacterium
tuberculosis and rifampicin resistance. However, little is known about routine point-of-care (POC) use in high TB/HIV burden settings. We describe our experiences of launching Xpert as the POC, initial diagnostic for all TB suspects at a primary healthcare clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa. Noted important benefits of POC Xpert were fewer clinic visits, rapid detection of TB and rifampicin resistance, real-time assessment of accompanying household members of new TB cases, and increased staff motivation for TB screening. While Xpert results are available within 2 hours, actual turnaround time was longer for most patients because of sample preparation time and clinic congestion. Consequently, a GX4
instrument did not result in a 16-test capacity during an 8-hour working day, and some patients did not receive same-day results. Loss to follow-up was an unforeseen challenge, overcome by clinic flow changes, marking of clinic files, documenting patients’ physical description and locating patients in the clinic by cell phone. Staff with high school education successfully performed the assay after minimal training. Human resource requirements were considerable, with a minimum of 2 staff needed to supervise sputum collection, process sputum, perform assays, and document results for an average of 15 TB suspects daily. POC placement of the instrument transferred logistical responsibilities to the clinic, including quality assurance, maintenance, stock control and cartridge disposal. POC use of Xpert is feasible at the primary healthcare level
but must be accompanied by financial, operational and logistical support.
Copyright remains in the Author’s name. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial Works License. Authors are required to complete and sign an Author Agreement form that outlines Author and Publisher rights and terms of publication. The Agreement form should be uploaded along with other submissions files and any submission will be considered incomplete without it [forthcoming].
Material submitted for publication in the SAMJ is accepted provided it has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. Please inform the editorial team if the main findings of your paper have been presented at a conference and published in abstract form, to avoid copyright infringement. The SAMJ does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors.
Previously published images
If an image/figure has been previously published, permission to reproduce or alter it must be obtained by the authors from the original publisher and the figure legend must give full credit to the original source. This credit should be accompanied by a letter indicating that permission to reproduce the image has been granted to the author/s. This letter should be uploaded as a supplementary file during submission.