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S Afr Med J. 1996 Jan;86(1):67-71.

A blood-result turn-around time survey to improve congenital syphilis prevention in a rural area.

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Department of Community Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.


The results of a turn-around time study of blood specimens for syphilis serology in antenatal clinic attenders between 19 rural clinics and their base hospital, including a follow-up survey to assess the impact of interventions, are described. The objective of the study was to determine how long blood samples took to get from the clinic to the laboratory and back again. The time between each phase was recorded by inclusion of a dating system on the documentation that routinely accompanies the blood samples. The longest delay was the time at the laboratory. The results were reported to the various sectors involved in the handling of the blood samples. The solution was to make all divisions of the health service aware of the needs of the clinic staff and clinic service users, and to change laboratory routine.

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