EKF Diagnostics, the global in vitro diagnostics company, has announcd that it is supporting the reduction of anemia in developing regions of South America through the use of its point-of-care (POC) hemoglobin analyzers, as highlighted in a recent International Symposium. EKF’s Hemo Control hemoglobin analyzer has been helping the reliable screening and monitoring of anemia to fight chronic child malnutrition by South American public health programs for a number of years. In Peru, one such program has reduced chronic malnutrition in children under 5 years old from 28% to 13% since 2006. The significance of this achievement has been recognized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The ongoing Peruvian program was a focus of the ‘International Symposium: Advances in Anemia’ which focused on hemoglobin testing and malnutrition prevention organized by Diagnostica Peruana SAC. With expert presentations given by senior figure in the Peruvian Ministry of Health, Dr Juan Carlos Noguera and from Mexico’s National Institute of Medical Science and Nutrition Salvador Zubiran, nutritionist Marti Yareli Del Monte, the Symposium discussed how chronic child malnutrition is reduced by raising awareness and scaling up health and nutrition interventions in South America. Within Peru, this is achieved via a network of nutritionists and nurses from the Ministry of Health who routinely use EKF’s robust Hemo Control analyzer in remote areas throughout the country for hemoglobin testing.
Malnutrition is one of the major causes of anemia, so hemoglobin measurement using Hemo Control provides a reliable screening tool for the effectiveness of ongoing nutrition and health programs. The Symposium provided an ideal opportunity for the participating health workers to learn from the experts, and also meet and share their experiences and best practice for anemia screening programs which form an integral part of the larger nutrition programs, such as the Peruvian ‘Programa Articulado Nutricional’.
The health workers using the Hemo Control highlighted its reliable use in extreme weather conditions; for example, in Peru there are approximately 8,600 of these point-of-care analyzers in action. They are being successfully deployed from coastal regions with temperatures over 35°C; to the mountains, at more than 4,500 meters above sea level and far lower temperatures; and the jungle, with its humid, hot climate. However, due to its robustness and versatility the device works reliably to deliver simple, accurate and reliable hemoglobin and hematocrit test results whatever its location.
Examples of Hemo Control’s reliability were discussed at the Symposium. For example, in recent times northern Peru suffered damage due to the El Niño phenomenon. Many health facilities were flooded, including Cura Mori, in Piura: "The Hemoglobinometer case was floating in the water and I thought it was broken," said a nurse, “But, thanks to its hermetic carry case, our Hemo Control is still working and fully supporting our efforts to fight against child malnutrition in Peru.” The reliability of Hemo Control in adverse climatic conditions was also noted by other health workers from Andean cities such as Cerro de Pasco with very low annual average temperatures. The same positive results were obtained in Huancavelica, another high-altitude city regularly experiencing intense cold.
The health workers also commented on the portability and excellent battery life of their Hemo Control devices. For example, Luis a nurse in the Huacavelica province of Peru’s Andean region, must walk for hours to reach otherwise inaccessible remote mountain villages for the anemia screening program. “The ease of use, reliability and portability of the Hemo Control are essential for the success of my work,” said Luis. “By having immediate, accurate hemoglobin results whatever my location, means I can assess and deliver the necessary nutritional supplements and fortification to prevent malnutrition in children wherever they live.”
EKF Diagnostics’ Hemo Control delivers quantitative, lab quality hemoglobin results from 25 seconds, it also calculates haematocrit. It uses the well-established photometric azide methemoglobin method ensuring reliable results with a high precision (CV <2%). Due to its backlit screen, soft-load cuvette holder and integrated rechargeable battery, it is the ideal analyzer for stationary use and mobile settings. The point-of-care analyzer also features a bi-directional interface using a public standard protocol that allows direct integration with third party software.