Toward Improving Accessibility of Point-of-Care Diagnostic Services for Maternal and Child Health in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Point Care. 2019 Mar;18(1):17-25. doi: 10.1097/POC.0000000000000180. Epub 2019 Mar 5.


Point-of-care (POC) testing can improve health care provision in settings with limited access to health care services. Access to POC diagnostic services has shown potential to alleviate some diagnostic challenges and delays associated with laboratory-based methods in low- and middle-income countries. Improving accessibility to POC testing (POCT) services during antenatal and perinatal care is among the global health priorities to improve maternal and child health. This review provides insights on the availability of POC testing designed for diagnosing HIV, syphilis, and malaria in pregnancy to improve maternal and child health. In addition, factors such as accessibility of POC testing, training of health work force, and the efficiency of POC testing services delivery in low- and middle-income countries are discussed. A framework to help increase access to POC diagnostic services and improve maternal and child health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries is proposed.

Keywords: HIV; LMICs; access; antenatal care; child; malaria; point-of-care testing; pregnant women; prevention of mother-to-child transmission; services; syphilis.