Stop TB Partnership

New Innovative Approach to Transportation of Laboratory Samples of TB Patients is Piloted in Kyrgyzstan

In order to improve access to modern methods of TB diagnosis, contemporary treatment of TB patients, Project HOPE-Kyrgyzstan jointly with the National Center for Tuberculosis under the Ministry of Health of the Kyrgyz Republic has been piloting the innovative approach to transportation of laboratory samples since early 2017.

The laboratory diagnosis of TB is known to be the key component of detection and timely initiation of TB treatment. The primary health care facilities (PHC) in the Kyrgyz Republic often encounter the difficulties with regular and timely delivery of samples to laboratories due to the lack of transport. The existing practice of sputum sample transportation restricts an access to the laboratory services for persons with suspected TB and TB patients being treated. The sputum samples are delivered by health workers by public transport or by patients and their relatives, which entail the risk of TB spreading to other people and are associated with the additional financial burden of TB.

The innovative approach that will be implemented in Sokuluk Region of Chui Oblast means that the samples will be delivered from a laboratory on the day of sputum collection. This approach will be based on the logistical software, outsourced transport service and operator-controlled coordination of the transportation process. Health workers responsible for the collection of sputum samples will make requests for transportation to the operator. The operator will make a joint request for the whole route and send it to the transportation company. The electronic system will calculate the distance of the route and cost of transportation services, and also track the transportation online. This helps develop optimal routes, minimize the time and cost of transportation, ensure the promptness of laboratory analyses.

Special cooler bags that maintain the required temperature during the transportation are used to transport biological samples. The proposed innovative approach to sample transportation ensures the universal approach to contemporary methods of TB diagnosis in the outpatient settings.

"This approach is unique because it applies state-of-the-art technology and interaction between the medical and non-medical staff. The transportation system helps shorten the time of diagnosis and the initial treatment of TB, improve an access to laboratory diagnosis, strengthen infection control during transportation of pathological materials, and also curtail financial expenses of patients. The successful and effective use of the developed system will help implement it throughout Kyrgyzstan," Artur Niyazov, Country Director of Project HOPE-Kyrgyzstan, said.

The first outcomes of the innovative model will be demonstrated during the roundtable discussion "Innovative technologies in TB control" to be held on July 26 in Bishkek.