Primary health workers’ proficiency in using malaria rapid diagnostic tests in Limpopo Province, South Africa
Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) have been used for the diagnosis of malaria in Limpopo Province since 2001. A key determinant of the effectiveness of malaria RDTs is end-user proficiency. Since this had not previously been assessed in the area, we undertook a cross-sectional survey among randomly selected end-users of RDTs at primary health care settings in January 2007. Only 9% of participants checked the expiry date of RDTs, 32% did not add the correct volume of buffer, 24% did not wait for at least 15 minutes before reading the test result, and 24% were unable to read the test correctly. The percentage of participants who correctly interpreted RDT positive results was 85% (177/200), and the percentage who correctly interpreted RDT negative results was 96% (24/25). To achieve the full potential of RDTs as a tool for diagnosis of malaria, end-user proficiency must be improved.
South African Medical Journal (2009) 99 (11) 798-799