Point-of-Care blood tests: Do Indian villages have cultural objections?

Antonia Marika Vicziany, Jaideep Hardikar

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The key research question for this paper is whether Indian villagers would be resistant to the introduction of new technologies that could test blood in the villages where they reside, rather than at hospitals or clinics as is now the case. We have selected the subject of blood testing because screening and diagnosis of blood is relevant to many conditions that form part of India's disease burden—for example, anemia1, hepatitis and malaria. Point-of-care testing would involve collecting blood in minute quantities, namely via a few pinpricks, and testing it on site using simple methods that could be managed by people with low levels of literacy. The technology would provide a readout of the test results within minutes of the blood being applied to the testing medium. The collection of blood and the tests could be conducted in front of patients in their own homes and the blood would not require refrigeration, storage or transportation to urban hospitals or laboratories. In this paper we consider the possible obstacles to and benefits of point-of-care testing in Indian villages by examining the controversy surrounding rapid testing for TB in India. We then go on to discuss two possible kinds of obstacles that have been raised in discussions with colleagues in Australia and India, namely cultural perceptions of blood, and secondly the adequacy of village level health infrastructure.
Original languageEnglish
Article number505
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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