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Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Diagnostic Accuracy of Mobile-linked Point-of-Care Diagnostics in Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile health devices are emerging applications that could help deliver point-of-care (POC) diagnosis, particularly in settings with limited laboratory infrastructure, such as sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The advent of coronavirus has resulted in an increased deployment and use of mHealth-linked POC diagnostics in SSA. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the accuracy of mobile-linked point-of-care diagnostics in SSA. Our systematic review and meta-analysis were guided by the Preferred Reporting Items requirements for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA). We exhaustively searched PubMed, Science Direct, Google Scholar, MEDLINE, and CINAHL with full-text via EBSCOhost databases from mHealth inception to March 2021. The statistical analyses were conducted using OpenMeta-Analyst software. All 11 included studies were considered for the meta-analysis. The included studies focused on malaria infections, Schistosoma haematobium, Schistosoma mansoni, soil-transmitted helminths, and trichuris trichiura. The pooled summary of sensitivity and specificity estimates were moderate compared to the gold reference standard. The overall pooled estimates of sensitivity, specificity, positive likelihood ratio, negative likelihood ratio and diagnostic odds ratio of mobile-linked POC diagnostic devices were as follows: 0.499 (95% CI: 0.458-0.541); 0.535 (95% CI: 0.401-0.663); 0.952 (95% CI: 0.60-1.324); 1.381 (95% CI: 0.391-4.879); and 0.944 (95% CI: 0.579-1.538), respectively. Evidence shows that mobile-linked POC diagnostics' diagnostic accuracy is presently moderate in detecting infections in sub-Saharan Africa. Future research is recommended to evaluate mHealth devices' diagnostics with excellent sensitivities and specificities in diagnosing diseases in this setting.

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Osei E
Nkambule SJ
Vezi PN
Mashamba-Thompson TP
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