Bedside paediatric HIV testing in Malawi: impact on testing rates

Marita Macken, James Chan, Bernadette O'Hare, Hannah V. Thornton, Queen Dube, Neil Kennedy

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Background:  Provider initiated testing and counselling (PITC) is recommended for all inpatients in Malawi if they have not been tested in the previous 3 months. However testing rates remain low among children. We audited the effect of implementing a bedside diagnostic HIV testing service to determine if it would improve testing rates amongst paediatric inpatients.
Methods:  We audited the existing HIV testing service to determine the numbers of children being tested for HIV. This was followed by the introduction of a bedside diagnostic service followed by re-audit. Bedside testing was facilitated by health systems strengthening measures including identification of suitable counsellors, appropriate supervision and remuneration.
Results:  In the initial audit in March-April 2014, 85 (63%) of 135 children had documented HIV tests.. Following implementation of the bedside HIV testing service, there was a significant increase in the proportion of children whose HIV status was known. On re-audit in July 2015, 110 (94.8%) of 116 children had documented HIV tests (p<0.001). Of those with documented tests, 94.5% had been tested within the last 3-months compared to 61% in 2014. Following the introduction of the service, the proportion of children tested for HIV during admission increased from 31.9% to 68.1% (p<0.001).
Conclusions:  Implementation of a bedside testing service at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital significantly increased HIV testing among paediatric inpatients. This has important implications in establishing earlier treatment, reducing HIV-associated morbidity and mortality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-239
Number of pages3
JournalMalawi Medical Journal
Issue number3
Early online date31 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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