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The inverted cup device for blood transfer on malaria RDTs: ease of use, acceptability and safety in routine use by health workers in Nigeria.

Abstract

The volume accuracy of inverted cup devices made of two plastics, PMMA and SBC, was compared by transferring blood 150 times onto filter paper and comparing the blood spot areas with those produced by 20 reference transfers with a calibrated micropipette. The ease of use, safety and acceptability of the inverted cup device and the pipette were evaluated by 50 health workers in Nigeria. Observations were recorded on pre-designed questionnaires, by the health workers themselves and by trained observers. Focus group discussions were also conducted.

The good volume accuracy and high acceptability of the inverted cup device shown in this study, along with observed ease of use and safety in hands of health workers, further strengthens prior findings which demonstrated its higher accuracy as compared with other BTDs in a laboratory setting. Altogether, these studies suggest that the inverted cup device should replace other types of devices for use in day-to-day malaria diagnosis with RDTs.

Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are becoming widely adopted for case management at community level. However, reports and anecdotal observations indicate that the blood transfer step poses a significant challenge to many users. This study sought to evaluate the inverted cup device in the hands of health workers in everyday clinical practice, in comparison with the plastic pipette, and to determine the volume accuracy of the device made of a lower-cost plastic.

The volume accuracy assessment showed that the device made from the low-cost material (SBC) delivered a more accurate volume (mean 5.4 μL, SD 0.48 μL, range 4.5-7.0 μL) than the PMMA device (mean 5.9 μL, SD 0.48 μL, range 4.9-7.2 μL). The observational evaluation demonstrated that the inverted cup device performed better than the pipette in all aspects, e.g. higher proportions of health workers achieved successful blood collection (96%, vs. 66%), transfer of the required blood volume (90%, vs. 58%), and blood deposit without any loss (95%, vs. 50%). Majority of health workers also considered it' very easy' to use (81%),'very appropriate' for everyday use (78%), and 50% of them reported that it was their preferred BTD.

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