The Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) in partnership with AFENET are conducting an exercise to profile all laboratory and non-laboratory HIV testing sites in 73 districts of Uganda as part of its national wide efforts of improving HIV –related quality assurance across the country. The overall goal of the exercise is to gather comprehensive data on HIV testing laboratories/sites and testing personnel in the country and develop a centralized e-health data base that will be updated on a regular basis to serve as a reference database for continuous improvement of laboratory related activities in the country. UVRI designed this activity in collaboration with the Global Health Security (GHS), the Ministry of Health Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) and Allied Health Professionals’ Council (AHPC) to achieve a related goal as part of National HIV Quality Assurance/ Quality Control (QA/QC).
The overall objective of this exercise was to locate, map and create profiles of the current laboratory capacity and HIV points of care and HIV testing personnel in the country with a vision of strengthening HIV quality assurance and laboratory quality systems in general. The specific objectives of the laboratory profiling exercise included:
- To locate, map and create profiles of the current laboratory capacity in the country with a vision of strengthening HIV quality assurance and laboratory quality systems in general.
- To identify and gather information about individual HIV testers in the country.
- To identify laboratory services offered at the health facilities within the districts and to use this model for other districts within the country.
- To assess whether facilities participate in the current HIV EQA scheme, how they send their EQA results and whether they follow the recommended rapid HIV testing algorithm
All laboratory and non- laboratory based HIV testing points in the district were profiled and this was limited to health facilities providing HIV testing including both public and private health facilities. Data collection was done in collaboration with the District Laboratory Focal Person using an existing tool which was developed and pre-tested by UVRI. Data was collected using tablets at each site using semi-structured interviews and observations. The GPS data was entered in to a software called ArcGIS and was used to develop a service availability map for Kalangala showing the spatial distribution of all the assessed health facilities that offer HIV testing services. All data collected was exported to excel and aggregated to obtain frequencies for key parameters that were assessed.