• Common causes of EID sample rejection in Zimbabwe and how to mitigate them

      editor: Torpey, Kwasi; Chiku, Charles; orcid: 0000-0003-3455-598X; email: charleschiku@gmail.com; Zolfo, Maria; Senkoro, Mbazi; Mabhala, Mzwandile A.; Tweya, Hannock; Musasa, Patience; Shukusho, Fungai D.; Mazarura, Exervia; Mushavi, Angela; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2019-08-08)
      Early infant diagnosis (EID) of HIV provides an opportunity for early HIV detection and access to appropriate Antiretroviral treatment (ART). Dried Blood Spot (DBS) samples are used for EID of exposed infants, born to HIV-positive mothers. However, DBS rejection rates in Zimbabwe have been exceeding the target of less than 2% per month set by the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory (NMRL), in Harare. The aim of this study was to determine the DBS sample rejection rate, the reasons for rejection and the possible associations between rejection and level of health facility where the samples were collected. This is an analytical cross-sectional study using routine DBS sample data from the NMRL in Harare, Zimbabwe, between January and December 2017.A total of 34 950 DBS samples were received at the NMRL. Of these, 1291(4%) were rejected. Reasons for rejection were insufficient specimen volume (72%), missing request form (11%), missing sample (6%), cross-contamination (6%), mismatch of information (4%) and clotted sample (1%). Samples collected from clinics/rural health facilities were five times more likely to be rejected compared to those from a central hospital. Rejection rates were above the set target of <2%. The reasons for rejection were ‘pre-analytical’ errors including labelling errors, missing or inconsistent data, and insufficient blood collected. Samples collected at primary healthcare facilities had higher rejection rates.
    • Inadequate dried blood spot samples for Early Infant Diagnosis, how common and what are the reasons for rejection in Zimbabwe?

      Chiku, Charles; Zolfo, Maria; Senkoro, Mbazi; Mabhala, Mzwandile A.; Tweya, Hannock; Musasa, Patience; Shukusho, Fungai D.; Mazarura, Exervia; Mushavi, Angela; Mangwanya, Douglas; et al. (PLoS, 2019-08-31)
      Background Early infant diagnosis (EID) of HIV in infants provides an opportunity for early detection of the infection and early access to Antiretroviral treatment (ART). Dried Blood Spot (DBS) samples are used for EID of HIV-exposed infants, born from HIV positive mothers. However, DBS rejection rates have been exceeding in Zimbabwe the target of less than 2% per month set by the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory (NMRL). The aim of this study was to determine the DBS samples rejection rate, the reasons for rejection and the possible associations between rejection and level of health facility where the sample was collected. Methods Analytic cross-sectional study using routine DBS samples data from the NMRL in Harare, Zimbabwe, between January and December 2017. Results A total of 34.950 DBS samples were received at the NMRL. Of these, 1291(4%) were rejected and reasons for rejections were: insufficient specimen volume (72%), missing request form (11%), missing sample (6%), cross contamination (6%), mismatch information (4%) and clotted sample (1%). Samples collected from clinics/rural health facilities had five times likelihood to be rejected compared to those from a central hospital. Conclusion Rejection rates were above the set target of 2%. The reasons for rejection were ‘pre-analytical’ errors including labeling errors, sample damage, missing or inconsistent data, and insufficient volume. Samples collected at primary healthcare facilities had higher rejection rates.
    • Retention and sustained viral suppression in HIV patients transferred to community refill centres in Kinshasa, DRC

      Moudachirou, Ramsia; Van Cutsem, G; Chuy, R; Tweya, H; Senkoro, Mbazi; Mabhala, Mzwandile; Zolfo, Maria; University of Chester
      Background The adoption of the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets acceleration plan and the implementation of ‘test and treat’ strategy has resulted in a significant increase in the number of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) receiving lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART). To improve and sustain ART retention in care and virologic suppression, innovative service delivery models are needed. In 2010, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) set-up decentralized community ART refill centres (“poste de distribution communautaire”, PODI) for follow-up of stable ART patients from Kabinda Hospital (CHK), in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Objective To assess retention in care and virologic suppression on ART after transfer to the three main PODIs in Kinshasa. Methods A retrospective cohort study was conducted using routine program data for PLWH aged >15 years and stable on ART transferred from CHK to a PODI between January 2015 and June 2017. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to estimate retention in care. Viral load (VL) suppression was defined as a VL ≤ 1000 copies/ml. Results A total of 337 patients were transferred to a PODI. Of these, 306 (91%) patients were on ART 12 months after transfer to PODI and were eligible for the 12-month routine VL testing. A total of 118 (39%) had VL done at 12 months; VL suppression was 93% (n=110). Median time from enrolment into PODI to 12-month routine VL was 14.6 months [IQR: 12.2-20.8]. Overall, 189 (62%) patients had at least one VL load test done during follow-up. Retention in PODI at 6, 12 and 18 months was 96%, 92% and 88% respectively. Retention at 18 months was statistically different between PODIs; 91%, 88% and 78% in PODI East, PODI West and PODI Central respectively, (p=0.0349). Conclusion Retention and VL suppression in community-based ART refill centers were high, although VL coverage was low. HIV programs need to scale–up VL testing services PLWHA receiving ART in PODIs.