In the summer of 2018, the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing at the University of Arkansas, USA, took fifteen nursing students on a Study Abroad Program in Bolgatanga, Ghana. They were working at small village clinics and discovered that anemia is very common in women of childbearing age. This can lead to blood transfusions, but commonly results in death.
Hand-Held, Fully Portable Analyzer
As well as confirming the presence of anemia by measuring hemoglobin (Hb) using EKF’s hand-held, fully portable analyzer, they also provided very important education about nutrition. Due to the success of this program, another team of fifteen from the University will return in the summer of 2019. This team will extend the anemia studies to include elderly patients, who are also at high risk of mortality due to anemia.
The Hb testing in summer 2018 was centered around women of childbearing age. Taking into account current research data on anemia in Ghana, a teaching program was created, providing focused education about the importance of iron and protein in the diet. A small research project was carried out surrounding women’s perceptions of anemia in women and children . This study demonstrated the importance of understanding the community before initiating public health initiatives in order to ensure that teachings are not only accurate, but also tailored to the mindset and culture of the target audience.
Importance of High-Protein and Iron-Rich Foods
A total of 176 Hb tests were undertaken using the DiaSpect Tm. The study hypothesis that high protein and iron-rich foods need to be increased in the women’s diets was supported by data showing that 45% of the tests were below normal values. The education program therefore focused on which local foods were high in protein or iron-rich and the importance of including them in pregnant women’s diets, those of childbearing age and new mothers.
Carol Agana, University of Arkansas, who lead the nursing team and study program, explained why EKF’s DiaSpect Tm was chosen for use in Ghana. “The point-of-care analyzer had to be unaffected by high ambient temperatures, as well as being easy-to-use and even easier to carry. Battery life was also important for working in remote areas, so when charged up it could last a very long time, which is great when electricity is either unavailable or intermittent. Furthermore, having virtually instantaneous hemoglobin results meant that the participants didn’t have to wait or return for these. Also ideal was the fact that DiaSpect’s sampling cuvette requires such a tiny drop of blood from a standardized finger prick procedure .”
Image credit: EKF Diagnostics
EKF’s contribution to our project really helped to reinforce the education, and women were so impressed that they could actually get their blood checked immediately. Even the local women working at the clinics asked to be tested too. Our nursing staff also found DiaSpect Tm great to work with as the self-training video was easy to follow, and it being hand-held and lightweight, it was very easily transported in its protective carry case. Overall, it was a very successful program and we look forward to returning this summer.
Carol Agana, Nursing and Study Program Lead, University of Arkansas
Within two seconds of its whole blood-filled microcuvette being inserted for analysis, the DiaSpect Tm provides users with precise hemoglobin measurements (CV within run ³1%). It is palm-sized, which makes it easy to transport, and it is ideal for use in any screening setting. As shown in the Ghana-based study, it can even be used in challenging climatic environments.
DiaSpect is factory-calibrated against the HiCN reference method in accordance with ICSH and it is ‘always on’, meaning it is ready to use with no maintenance or re-calibration required. The rechargeable internal battery provided up to 40 days / 10,000 tests of continuous use which means no power source is needed for weeks at a time, making it ideal for point-of-care settings.
Moreover, the microcuvettes are reagent-free, with a half-life of up to 2.5 years which means that they can be used until the expiration date, even after the bag has been opened. The microcuvettes are also unaffected by temperature and humidity across a wide range and this makes the DiaSpect very suitable for hot and humid climates.
References and Further Reading
- Albrecht, Sydney, "The perception of iron-deficient anemia in Bolgatanga, Ghana among women of childbearing age" (2019). The Eleanor Mann School of Nursing Undergraduate Honors Theses. 87. https://scholarworks.uark.edu/nursuht/87
- Lemburg, Katja, “Capillary Blood Sampling - for point-of-care hemoglobin testing, good capillary blood sampling practices are vitally important” (2017). Clinical Laboratory Products. November 2017; 6-9.
About EKF Diagnostics
EKF Diagnostics is a global medical diagnostics business with a long history in point-of-care testing and central laboratory manufacturing. Our products have a hard earned reputation for ease of use, reliability and accuracy.
Our core focus is the Point of Care market with over 80,000 hemoglobin, A1c, glucose and lactate analyzers in regular use in more than 100 countries running more than 50m tests every year.
Our range of HbA1c analyzers and glucose analyzers are used in GP surgeries, sports clinics, and diabetes clinics. They deliver fast and reliable results that provide both practitioner and patient with the information they need to make clinical or lifestyle decisions in minutes.
EKF Diagnostics offer the largest range of hemoglobin and hematocrit analyzers on the market, giving physicians and specialists a choice of product with different methodology, measurement speed, connectivity and price options. Our aim is to make blood donation and anemia screening easier, more affordable and more accessible than ever before.
The EKF Maternal & Women’s Health Point of Care range aims to improve healthcare outcomes for women and children by providing physicians with a suite of products covering pregnancy testing, anaemia screening, fetal scalp lactate testing and post birth creamatocrit measurement.
EKF Diagnostics is also a global manufacturer of central laboratory products including Stanbio Chemistry reagents, benchtop laboratory analyzers, rapid tests and centrifuges. Our chemistry reagents can be used on the majority of analyzers found in hospital laboratories around the world.
The ordinary shares of EKF Diagnostics Holdings plc are traded on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange.
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