Background: Syphilis is still one of the main causes of maternal and child morbidity. The CISNE project (Spanish acronym for “Immediate Cure for Neonatal Syphilis”) in Peru induced a change in the national policies for screening for this disease using rapid tests (specifically the Syphilis 3.0 BioLine®).
The aim of this work is to present findings of the training of health personnel for the implementation of Rapid Syphilis Testing nationwide in Peru.
Methods: Training modules were developed and workshops were offered to physicians, professional midwives, nurses, and laboratory personnel throughout the country. Training included presentations and hands-on workshops on sample collection, reading of test results, counseling and treatment of seropositive women. Knowledge was evaluated through written tests. Checklists were used to evaluate their performance in the different skills required to carry out the test. To evaluate test result reading skills, a set of 15 test cassettes (including positives, negatives and invalids) was read by the participants. Participant satisfaction was also evaluated.
Results: From 302 persons trained, the top 221 (77%) with the best scores became trainers of trainers. Of them 34 were laboratory personnel, 187 physicians, midwives or nurses. Grades for participants in a vigesimal scale rose from 15 prior to the training to 18 after the training, with an overall 93% accuracy in readings of the test. The course was found useful by 99% of the participants, 97% considered they had and active participation in the course, and 100% graded the course as good or very good.
Conclusions: The training course is well accepted and improves the skills and knowledge of health workers in the use of rapid tests for syphilis.