Evaluation of the performance of health extension workers on malaria rapid diagnostic tests and predictor factors in Bahir Dar Zuria district, northwest Ethiopia: A cross-sectional study
In Ethiopia, anti-malaria treatment is initiated after parasitological confirmation using blood film microscopy at health centers and hospitals, or serological rapid diagnostic tests at health posts. At health posts, the diagnosis is performed by health extension workers using rapid diagnostic tests after little training. However, there is paucity of data about the health extension workers' performance on rapid diagnostic tests. Hence, periodic monitoring of the performances of health extension
... of health extension workers on malaria rapid diagnostic tests and predicted factors plays a pivotal role for the control of malaria. Methods A cross sectional study was conducted in May 2020, among 75 health extension workers working at health posts in Bahir Dar Zuria district, Northwest Ethiopia. Their performance on malaria rapid diagnostic tests was assessed by distributing known positive and negative samples as confirmed by investigators using both rapid diagnostic test and blood film microscopy. Test results from health extension workers were then compared with that of investigators. Procedural errors committed while performing the tests were assessed using observational checklist. Data were analyzed using SPSS software version 20. Results The overall sensitivity and specificity of health extension workers in detecting Plasmodium species were 96.8% and 98.7%, respectively with 97.3% result agreement between the health extension workers and investigators (kappa value = 0.949). The most common procedural errors committed by health extension workers was 'not checking expiry date of the test kits' followed by 'not adhering to the appropriate time of reading results' that 70.7% and 64% of the participants committed these errors, respectively. Total number of procedural errors committed by those who have got in-service training was decreased by 47.3% as compared to those without in-service training. Conclusions Health extension workers had high performance on malaria rapid diagnostic tests. However, in-service training and periodic supervision should be given in order to maximize performance on these tests.