The impact of R4H’s Sample Transport Program is being recognized as healthcare workers appreciate the positive changes the program is bringing to the health sector. Patients residing in hard-to-reach areas without laboratories or necessary machines in district laboratories for diagnosis are effectively assisted with R4H Sample Transport Program.
“We use motorcycles that are well-equipped with the necessary facilities to maintain the integrity of samples during transportation, particularly in instances where temperature-sensitive medical samples are involved,” explained Shadreck Potipher, ST Courier for Bwaila DHO in Lilongwe. The couriers are adequately trained on standard operating procedures to help prevent any sample from contamination.
Whilst interacting with the Communications Officer for R4H, Mervis Nyirenda on 31st July, 2023 Mary Zgambo, HIV Diagnostic Assistant at Area 25 Health Centre shared how they work with R4H Couriers. She narrates, “We are responsible for testing clients. As recommended, R4H ST Couriers pick up the samples from the health facility after 24 hours. We document the client’s information in a lab. form and health facility register. The lab form is attached to the sample and is used as an identifier.”
The sample transport program enables patients to receive timely diagnoses and appropriate treatment, which in turn significantly improves their chances of recovery. “The ST couriers also assist in getting clients missing information from the health facility” added Zgambo.
The sample transport program helps to alleviate the burden of laboratory services in some districts by distributing samples to various molecular laboratories across the country. Emmanuel Nthini, Laboratory Data Entry Clerk at Bwaila DHO explains “R4H couriers bring well-labeled samples from other health facilities. The samples are accompanied by a requisition form which comprises the name of the health facility from which the sample has been taken, the date, and ID”.
“Currently, there have been improvements in Turn-Around-Time (TAT) from the day samples are collected from a client, and picked by R4H couriers to the day results are ready for pick up at the hub and delivered to the originating health facilities” Nthini complimented.
The decreased turnaround time enables healthcare providers to administer timely interventions and improve patient outcomes. Nthini concluded “Having molecular laboratories in districts like Mchinji and Salima can assist in reducing the backlog in Lilongwe as samples from these neighboring districts are also sent to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) for diagnosis”.