Point-of-Care Diagnostics for Improving Maternal Health in South Africa.
Mashamba-Thompson TP., Sartorius B., Drain PK.
Improving maternal health is a global priority, particularly in high HIV-endemic, resource-limited settings. Failure to use health care facilities due to poor access is one of the main causes of maternal deaths in South Africa. "Point-of-care" (POC) diagnostics are an innovative healthcare approach to improve healthcare access and health outcomes in remote and resource-limited settings. In this review, POC testing is defined as a diagnostic test that is carried out near patients and leads to rapid clinical decisions. We review the current and emerging POC diagnostics for maternal health, with a specific focus on the World Health Organization (WHO) quality-ASSURED (Affordability, Sensitivity, Specificity, User friendly, Rapid and robust, Equipment free and Delivered) criteria for an ideal point-of-care test in resource-limited settings. The performance of POC diagnostics, barriers and challenges related to implementing POC diagnostics for maternal health in rural and resource-limited settings are reviewed. Innovative strategies for overcoming these barriers are recommended to achieve substantial progress on improving maternal health outcomes in these settings.