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Ensuring quality: a key consideration in scaling-up HIV-related point-of-care testing programs
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    The objective of the WHO/US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief consultation was to discuss innovative strategies, offer guidance, and develop a comprehensive policy framework for implementing quality-assured HIV-related point-of-care testing (POCT).


    The consultation was attended by representatives from international agencies (WHO, UNICEF, UNITAID, Clinton Health Access Initiative), United States Agency for International Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief Cooperative Agreement Partners, and experts from more than 25 countries, including policy makers, clinicians, laboratory experts, and program implementers.

    Main outcomes:

    There was strong consensus among all participants that ensuring access to quality of POCT represents one of the key challenges for the success of HIV prevention, treatment, and care programs. The following four strategies were recommended: implement a newly proposed concept of a sustainable quality assurance cycle that includes careful planning; definition of goals and targets; timely implementation; continuous monitoring; improvements and adjustments, where necessary; and a detailed evaluation; the importance of supporting a cadre of workers [e.g. volunteer quality corps (Q-Corps)] with the role to ensure that the quality assurance cycle is followed and sustained; implementation of the new strategy should be seen as a step-wise process, supported by development of appropriate policies and tools; and joint partnership under the leadership of the ministries of health to ensure sustainability of implementing novel approaches.


    The outcomes of this consultation have been well received by program implementers in the field. The recommendations also laid the groundwork for developing key policy and quality documents for the implementation of HIV-related POCT.

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