The National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory (NTRL), through its Learning and Development Section (LDS), of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) piloted the Training of Trainers on Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra (GX-TOT) in Western Visayas from June 05-09, 2023.
In collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH) Western Visayas Center for Health Development (CHD), NTRL-LDS capacitated 12 Xpert (GX) trainers from Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Aklan, Antique, Guimaras, and Capiz to lead, manage, and conduct the training program on Xpert Ultra for implementers in Region VI.
The DOH Western Visayas TB Regional Coordinator, Mr. Robinson Canson, identified the participants for the training with the intention to further decentralize Xpert Ultra training to the provincial level. The five-day training course consisted of lectures, drills-and-practices, feedback session, exercises, microteaching, and case study presentation.
“It is very important that our trainers are competent in facilitating laboratory activities. In our TOT courses, we pay close attention in improving these skills to ensure that our regional cadre of GX trainers are competent in managing their respective Xpert Ultra trainings,” said Xpert MTB Training Point Person Ms. Arcdel Urcia.
The training aims to produce a cadre of Western Visayas regional trainers who will then undergo further assessment once they are ready to conduct their first training independently. Once they pass this assessment, the trainers will receive a certification that will last for two (2) years.
As part of scaling up TB diagnostic tests and improving case detection, the country began its transition from the first generation Xpert MTB/RIF assay to the next generation Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra cartridges last 2021. The Xpert Ultra features technical improvements such as the faster release of results and higher sensitivity among smear-negative cases and PLHIV, compared to Xpert MTB/RIF.
“With the transition from Xpert MTB/RIF to MTB/RIF Ultra cartridges, it is of paramount importance to capacitate current GX trainers,” explained Ms. Urcia.
NTRL-LDS aims to ensure that there is an adequate number of GX trainers in each region by routinely conducting Training of Trainers on Xpert MTB/RIF every year. With the changes to the course reflecting the updates to the assay, NTRL plans on releasing an updated facilitator’s guide to further provide assistance to certified Xpert trainers.