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Diagnostics 2016, 6(3), 31; doi:10.3390/diagnostics6030031

Point-of-Care Diagnostics for Improving Maternal Health in South Africa

Discipline of Public Health, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4001, South Africa
International Clinical Research Center, Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Andreas Kjaer
Received: 26 June 2016 / Revised: 17 August 2016 / Accepted: 19 August 2016 / Published: 31 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Point-of-Care Technologies in Diagnostics)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1539 KB, uploaded 31 August 2016]   |  


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. View Full-Text
Keywords: HIV; maternal health; point-of-care diagnostics; resource-limited settings HIV; maternal health; point-of-care diagnostics; resource-limited settings

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Mashamba-Thompson, T.P.; Sartorius, B.; Drain, P.K. Point-of-Care Diagnostics for Improving Maternal Health in South Africa. Diagnostics 2016, 6, 31.

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