Streamlining OTSS with Digital Tool Improves Malaria Diagnostics in Guinea Health Facilities

July 22, 2022

Lab worker uses new tablets for OTSS and malaria diagnostics in Guinea.

Lab health worker in the Mali Prefectural Hospital’s Laboratory Department uses the surveyCTO tool on a tablet to record various results.

Capacity building of malaria diagnosis within the Mali Prefectural Hospital’s Laboratory Department in Guinea has improved after implementing a streamlined, digital tool for conducting outreach training and supportive supervision (OTSS) rounds for malaria microscopy, implemented in all supervised labs in Guinea.

The SurveyCTO tool on tablets records the results of supervision visits in real-time and has improved the supervisor's efficiency in identifying gaps, improved the quality of data collected, analyzed, and archived, and increased the laboratory staff’s capacity for malaria diagnostics by microscopy and rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs).

The tool was introduced through MCD’s StopPalu+ program, sponsored by USAID and led by RTI International, for all public and private health facilities targeted by this capacity-building intervention in the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) zones of the country. This program supports the Guinean National Malaria Control Program in achieving PMI’s target of reducing malaria morbidity and mortality by 75% through improved malaria diagnostics.

Mamadou Aliou Souaré, head of the Mali Prefectural Hospital’s Laboratory Department, obtained his World Health Organization (WHO) Level 1 certification in malaria microscopy after attending training through StopPalu+, one of 13 Guineans who have received this prestigious certification through the program.

Now, being one of the trainers and supervisors of malaria diagnosis activities, one of his roles involves building the capacity of malaria laboratory technicians in Guinea. “In previous years during OTSS rounds, we used a 16-page checklist that had to be administered to laboratories while going through a review process that involved observation of technicians while preparing thin and thick blood smears, supervisor feedback to the authorities, and more. This process was very time consuming and caused a lot of concern about the proper recording and storage of data at every moment,” he wrote.

The SurveyCTO tool has streamlined these tasks with “an unprecedented rapidity.” His team directly enters, analyzes, and archives collected data and then instantaneously distributes the data and other information to different agents, with the old paper forms no longer necessary.

“We congratulate MCD for this innovation in how we do OTSS in the Republic of Guinea and appreciate this tool for many reasons,” he wrote.

Mamadou shared that the benefits of using the SurveyCTO tool during OTSS include saving time and energy, securing data archives, and facilitating data collection, analysis, and interpretation as well as remotely following up on recommendations for improvements.

“The development of the SurveyCTO tool through tablet and Android phone in the supervision of laboratories genuinely improves the implementation of our activities in the field and remains the first of its kind in the Republic of Guinea, thanks to the MCD StopPalu+ project,” he wrote.

StopPalu+ addresses gaps in malaria prevention and control by supporting essential health service delivery, behavior change communication, capacity building and supervision, disease surveillance, and monitoring and evaluation. MCD’s team provides technical assistance to improve malaria diagnostic capacity at all levels of the health system, including training of trainers and laboratory technicians, improving rapid diagnostic testing and providing job aids to community health workers, conducting malaria diagnosis refresher training, and assessing and certifying laboratory technicians in malaria microscopy.

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