Union Courses

Acid-Fast Direct Smear Microscopy: A Laboratory Training Programme


Acid-Fast Direct Smear Microscopy: A Laboratory Training Programme

An effective tuberculosis (TB) care and prevention programme depends upon laboratories providing accurate, reliable and timely detection of TB cases. The majority of smear-positive cases that are infectious are detected with direct smear microscopy. Therefore, assuring high-quality direct smear microscopy is the responsibility of TB control programmes and ministries of health working in partnership to provide training, support and ongoing monitoring of testing in all levels of laboratories. Recognising that effective training is an important component of every national TB programme, the World Health Organization convened a workgroup in 2004 with representatives from WHO, CDC, RIT, The Union, and APHL to develop standard materials that all countries could use to improve their training efforts.

The workgroup combined and refined existing and new materials into a package that every country could customise to meet their needs for delivering training. Effective training for AFB direct smear microscopy requires a laboratory workshop that includes practical exercises with classroom presentations and discussions of the challenges and solutions for common problems.  Therefore, these training materials are designed as a “workshop in a box” that includes all the presentations, exercises and step-by-step guidance for convening and conducting a 4–5 day practical laboratory workshop.

Outline of contents:

Video: Watch the accompanying videos: English French Spanish Russian

This training video is intended for laboratory technicians, at all laboratory levels, who perform or supervise direct AFB microscopy. It is designed to assist laboratory technicians in performing direct AFB microscopy. The programme content is intended to complement laboratory manuals by demonstrating appropriate technique, emphasising standard methods and promoting consistent reading and reporting of smear results. The technical content of this training programme, which was developed by an international team of experts, follows the methods and practices recommended by WHO and The Union.

Trainer’s Guide (ZIP)

Participants Manual (ZIP)