NRL Scientific Consulting and Training: NRL Contributes to the Strengthening of HIV Testing in Myanmar
With funding from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and through a cooperative agreement between ICAP at Columbia University (ICAP) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NRL is supporting the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports to develop, implement, and monitor the provision of high-quality HIV testing services, to achieve the 95-95-95 targets amongst all populations by 2030.
As part of these efforts, NRL staff member Sandy Walker conducted two virtual training programs for approximately 90 participants from the National Health Laboratory (NHL), the National AIDS Program (NAP), and 17 state and regional hospitals. The first training session was held from 29 to 30 July, and covered the theory on HIV Confirmatory Testing in Myanmar. The curriculum covered testing methods, quality assurance (QA) and safety. The program aims to support a standardised approach towards HIV confirmatory testing, based on Myanmar’s National HIV Testing Algorithm.
The second training program was held from 26 to 28 August, on the use of the Stepwise Process for Improving the Quality of HIV Rapid Testing (SPI-RT) checklist. The SPI-RT checklist provides guidance on QA practices for sites using HIV rapid tests to diagnose HIV infection. The SPI-RT checklist sets minimum standards for all HIV testing points and provides guidelines for continuous quality improvement.
These training programs were originally meant to be delivered in person, but as this was not possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NRL delivered the training via Zoom using various online training tools to ensure that the training was effective, engaging and interactive. A review of the pre and post-training questionnaires confirmed that participants demonstrated an improvement in their knowledge following the training.
NRL would like to thank ICAP, US CDC, NHL, NAP and all participants for their support and enthusiastic participation, which contributed to the success of the training workshops.