The Centre for Health System Strengthening (CfHSS) has partnered with GHS, CDC and ASLM to organise the Stepwise Process for Improving the Quality of HIV Rapid Testing (SPI-RT) Workshop in Accra, Ghana.
The aim of the workshop was to help build capacity in the cadre of local laboratory staff with the ability to conduct assessments or audits using the SPI-RT checklist and also have the ability to provide corrective actions aimed at improving service quality to clients. The SPI-RT checklist was developed by the WHO in collaboration with partners. The checklist is a continuous quality improvement (CQI) process that enables heads of testing sites and facilities to recognize quality gaps and shortcomings, identify areas for improvement, and where additional resources may be needed to achieve national site certification. The checklist sets minimum standards for all HIV testing sites and provides guidelines and requirements to certify testing sites. Ghana through the support of PEPFAR has been implementing an HIV Proficiency Testing Program using the Dried Tube Specimen (DTS) Technology and Standardized Logbook since 2016. So far, five priority regions (Greater Accra, Eastern, Western, Ashanti, and Brong Ahafo Regions) have been covered with over 570 sites enrolled. As the program expands, there is an urgent need to build local capacity with competencies in HIV rapid testing auditing and corrective action implementation to support the testing sites. The roll-up of the SPI-RT checklist is to support efforts in achieving the first 90 of the 90-90-90 UNAIDS targets aimed at increasing the testing capacity of countries.
The workshop was attended by 20 participants from the Ashanti, Greater Accra, Upper West, Eastern, and Northern region of Ghana. The participants comprised mainly of laboratory managers, quality assurance managers, and laboratory scientists who are involved in HIV testing or HIV related work within their respective regions.
A total of 7 in-country and 2 US-Based facilitators supported the training. The local facilitators comprised of personnel with varying experience in auditing, quality assurance, mentoring, and HIV testing.
The workshop was graced by Dr. Samuel Kaba Akoriyea – Director of Institutional Care Division of Ghana Health Service and Dr. Michael Melchior – Ag. CDC, Country Director for Ghana.