Original Research

Missed opportunities for integrated testing of HIV and tuberculosis on the GeneXpert platform in Lesotho

Gamuchirai P. Gwaza, Monkoe Leqheka, Tsietso Mots’oane, Sabine Dittrich, Kekeletso Kao
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 12, No 1 | a2132 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v12i1.2132 | © 2023 Gamuchirai P. Gwaza, Monkoe Leqheka, Tsietso Mots’oane, Sabine Dittrich, Kekeletso Kao | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 November 2022 | Published: 28 August 2023

About the author(s)

Gamuchirai P. Gwaza, Department of Impact, Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), Geneva, Switzerland; and, Department of Continuing Education, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Monkoe Leqheka, Department of Research and Laboratory Services, Ministry of Health, Maseru, Lesotho
Tsietso Mots’oane, Department of Research and Laboratory Services, Ministry of Health, Maseru, Lesotho
Sabine Dittrich, Department of Global Public Health, Deggendorf Institute of Technology, Deggendorf, Germany
Kekeletso Kao, Department of Access, Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), Geneva, Switzerland

Abstract

Background: Integrated testing, treatment and care are key strategies for addressing the dual burdens of tuberculosis and HIV. The GeneXpert instrument allows simultaneous HIV and tuberculosis testing, but its utilisation for integrated testing remains suboptimal.

Objective: The study determined the extent to which tuberculosis testing and HIV early infant detection (EID) were integrated on the GeneXpert platform, or the potential for integration at selected health facilities.

Methods: A mixed methods evaluation was conducted using retrospective secondary data analysis of laboratory records from 2017 to 2019, and semi-structured interviews. Data were collected between January 2020 and March 2020 in Lesotho.

Results: Forty-four health staff were interviewed across 13 health facilities: one regional, nine district, and three clinic level. Six were government facilities, six were mission hospitals, and one was a non-profit clinic. All facilities selected had at least one GeneXpert instrument used for tuberculosis or HIV testing; none included simultaneous testing for tuberculosis and HIV. In 2017, the average utilisation rate for the GeneXpert instrument for tuberculosis and EID testing was 63% and 24%, while in 2019, the average utilisation rate was 61% for tuberculosis testing and 27% for EID.

Conclusion: Except for three sites where the testing rates were high, utilisation rates were sufficiently low that all the HIV EID and tuberculosis tests undertaken in 2017 and 2019 could have been performed using only the instruments currently dedicated to tuberculosis testing. There is a missed opportunity for the integration of testing for tuberculosis and HIV on the GeneXpert instrument.

What this study adds: This study adds to the body of evidence on the need for integration of testing and highlights some practical and technical considerations for successful implementation of integrated tuberculosis and HIV testing.


Keywords

Tuberculosis; HIV; TB; GeneXpert; testing; integrated diagnosis; Lesotho

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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