Is deployement of diagnostic test alone enough? Comprehensive package of interventions to strengthen TB laboratory network: three years of experience in Burkina Faso

BMC Infect Dis. 2021 Apr 13;21(1):346. doi: 10.1186/s12879-021-06012-y.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUNDS: The laboratory plays a critical role in tuberculosis (TB) control by providing testing for diagnosis, treatment monitoring, and surveillance at each level of the health care system. Weak accessibility to TB diagnosric services still represents a big concern in many limited resources' countries. Here we report the experience of Burkina Faso in implementing a comprehensive intervention packages to strengthen TB laboratory capacity and diagnostic accessibility.

METHODS: The intervention lasted from October 2016 to December 2018 and focused on two main areas: i) development of strategic documents and policies; ii) implementation of TB diagnostic technology. National TB laboratory data were collected between 2016 and 2018 and evaluated according to five programmatic TB laboratory indicators: i) Percentage of notified new and relapse TB cases with bacteriological confirmation; ii) Percentage of notified new and relapse TB cases tested by Xpert MTB/RIF; iii) Percentage of notified, bacteriologically confirmed TB cases with a drug susceptibility testing (DST) result for rifampin; iv) Percentage of notified MDR-TB cases on the estimated number of MDR-TB cases; v) The ration between the number of smear microscopy and Xpert MTB/RIF tests. We compared these indicators between a 1 year (2016-2017) and 2 years (2016-2018) timeframe.

RESULTS: From 2016 to 2018, the percentage of bacteriologically confirmed cases increased from 67 to 71%. The percentage of new and relapse TB cases notified tested by Xpert MTB/RIF increased from 18% in 2016 to 46% in 2018 and the percentage of bacteriologically confirmed cases with an available DST result for rifampicin increased from 27% in 2016 to 66% in 2018.. The percentage of notified MDR-TB cases on the estimated number of MDR-TB cases in 2018 increased from 43% in 2016 to 78% in 2018. In 2018, the ratio between the number of smear microscopy and Xpert MTB/RIF tests decreased from 53% in 2016 to 21% in 2018.

CONCLUSION: We demonstrated that the implementation of a comprehensive package of laboratory strengthening interventions led to a significant improvement of all indicators. External technical assistance played a key role in speeding up the TB laboratory system improvement process.

PMID:33849486 | PMC:PMC8042973 | DOI:10.1186/s12879-021-06012-y