Accessibility of point-of-care diagnostics for prevention of vertical disease transmission in rural primary health care clinics in Zambia

The main objective of Katoba’s study is to explore barriers and challenges related to the accessibility of point-of-care (POC) diagnostics for prevention of vertically transmitted infections in rural primary health care clinic (PHCs) settings of Zambia. The specific aims are: to explore evidence of POC diagnostics services as an integral part of prevention of mother-to-child (PMTCT); to determine the accessibility of POC diagnostics in rural PHC clinics in Zambia; to explore reasons for deficiencies in accessibility of POC diagnostics in PMTCT services; and to examine causal pathways and mechanisms of POC diagnostics implementation to achieve the outcomes and propose a framework to improve access in rural PHCs in Zambia. To achieve these objectives, a mixed methodological approach is being employed that involves scoping review, a cross-sectional survey and qualitative in-depth interviews with key stakeholders. Finally, a mixed methods analysis will be used to address the last objective. So far, the study has found contextual factors as key drivers to implementation which pose a challenge to access POC diagnostics services. The proposed Theory of Change (a tool for mapping out how and why a desired change is expected to happen) will serve as framework for successful implementation in future efforts in rural PHCs of Zambia to improve access and service delivery.

SANTHE is an Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) flagship programme funded by the Science for Africa Foundation through the DELTAS Africa programme; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Gilead Sciences Inc.; and the Ragon Institute of Mass General, MIT, and Harvard.