Author(s): PrietoEgido I, GonzlezEscalada A, GarcaGiganto V, MartnezFernndez A
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Currently, the diagnosis of prevalent diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, or diarrheal diseases in rural areas of developing countries requires the displacement of the patient from their community health post to their reference health center or to ship a sample. This delays diagnosis and the treatment of disease. OBJECTIVE: Conduct research to develop a new method for rapid low-cost diagnosis of prevalent diseases in rural areas of developing countries (malaria, tuberculosis, parasitic infections, vaginal infections, and cervical cancer). METHODS: The study was divided into three phases. The first related to the drafting and validating of new protocols for the preparation of samples that should be adapted to be carried out in areas without power and with little trained personnel. The second phase consisted of developing a telemicroscopy system looking for low cost, software compatibility, and technical quality. Finally, the third phase evaluated the system as a diagnostic tool using direct observation with a conventional microscope as the gold standard. RESULTS: The validation of the new protocols showed that 100\% of the vaginal swabs were processed correctly when using direct smear, while they were only 86.3\% correct when using Gram stain; 68.3\% of fecal samples were correctly processed using Kinyoun stain; 61.7\% of blood samples when using thin film; and 83.8\% when using thick film. Phase 2 permitted the development of a low-cost (<$250) and low-power (<15 W) telemicroscopy system that allows real-time consultation between health technicians and specialists. Finally, phase 3 proved that there was no difference between the diagnostics obtained by direct observation in a microscope and those ones obtained through the new telemicroscopy system. CONCLUSIONS: This study has verified the effectiveness of the telemicroscopy system as a diagnostic tool, given the complete agreement between the diagnoses made with it and those made with the gold standard.
This article was published in Telemed J E Health
and referenced in Journal of Medical Diagnostic Methods