Lack of adequate sample management and proper equipment to transport samples presented contamination risks for people and compromised sample quality. With test results taking on average six months, the results were of limited use in helping manage treatment.
Working with key donor agencies, the World Health Organization and other partners, Nigeria’s Ministry of Health established the National Integrated Specimen Referral Network (NiSRN) in March 2018 to provide a cost-effective, efficient, safe and secure specimen referral system that enables patients to access quality laboratory testing irrespective of their location in Nigeria. The USAID Global Health Supply Chain-Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) project implemented NISRN on behalf of the Nigerian government using private-sector, third-party logistics providers to transport test samples and results to and from health facilities and testing laboratories. The program, funded through PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (Global Fund), covers all 36 of Nigeria’s states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Through NiSRN, private sector partners provide a dedicated team of motorcycle couriers who are held accountable for timely pickup, transport, and delivery of blood and samples for viral load, early infant diagnosis, CD4 and sputum for tuberculosis diagnosis. All these tests are essential for patients with HIV.