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Pilot assessment of malaria diagnosis and education using virtual microscopy for laboratories in Africa and developing nations

Tatum, L., Brereton, M., Eke, Z., West, M., De la Salle, B., Burthem, J., Ardern, J., McTaggart, P., Seal, L., Vercauteren, G., Bates, Imelda ORCID:, Gilmore, W. and Hyde, K. (2010) 'Pilot assessment of malaria diagnosis and education using virtual microscopy for laboratories in Africa and developing nations'. British Journal Of Haematology, Vol 149, Issue Suppl 1, pp. 53-54.

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Microscopy remains the internationally recognised gold standard for diagnosing malaria; however the ability to reach a correct diagnosis is affected by training, experience and availability of laboratory
With the aim of improving the accuracy of diagnosis, an
interactive training programme is being developed using ‘‘Virtual slides’’ delivered via the internet, which aim to replicate the microscope experience. These will be used to assess current diagnostic accuracy, provide annotated feedback, create training materials and assess the effectiveness of the pilot training scheme.
The programme is supported by the World Health Organization
(WHO). Forty-two participants were recruited from 14 laboratories recommended by the WHO, UK National External Quality Assessment
Scheme for general haematology (UKNEQAS (H)) and the
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Participants are in Kenya, Nigeria, Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, India and Lebanon.
After the initial training programme an internet based training package was delivered over four months, providing annotated feedback along with detailed information and images of cells containing parasites from the different species and stages of infection. Quizzes were also used to allow immediate feedback throughout the training.
Results from the initial assessment indicate that the correct diagnosis was made in 74.5% of cases, with the correct species being identified in 53.4%. The results returned were influenced by the Plasmodium species present, the parasite density of the image, the use of a thick or thin film to generate the image, the presence of
staining artefact and other haematological disorders.
The comparison of the individual’s results after the completion of the final assessment stage will be compared with the initial assessment results to see what effect the training has on the diagnosis of malaria. The training is currently being distributed to UK participants.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Special Issue: Abstracts of the 50th Annual Scientific Meeting of the British Society for Haematology, 19–21 April 2010, Edinburgh, UK
Subjects: WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 750 Malaria
QX Parasitology > QX 19 Schools, departments, and faculties of parasitology.
Faculty: Department: Groups (2002 - 2012) > Disease Control Strategy Group
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Tina Bowers
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2010 11:33
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2019 08:20


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