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Journal of Spectroscopy
Volume 2016, Article ID 1241862, 7 pages
Research Article

Near-Infrared Spectroscopic Screening for Bladder Disease in Africa: Training Rural Clinic Staff to Collect Data of Diagnostic Quality

1Department of Urologic Sciences and International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), University of British Columbia, Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, 818 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 1M9
2Department of Pediatrics and Urologic Sciences, University of British Columbia, C324 BC Women’s and Children’s Hospital, 4500 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6H 3N1
3Cure Medical Centre, P.O. Box 1707, Plot 48/49, Akiiki Nyabongo Road, Mbarara, Uganda
4Pathonix Innovation Inc., 6163 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z1
5Department of Urologic Sciences, University of British Columbia, Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, 818 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 1M9

Received 2 November 2015; Accepted 27 December 2015

Academic Editor: Jose S. Camara

Copyright © 2016 Lynn Stothers et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. While near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has recognized relevance for developing countries, biomedical applications are rare. This reflects the cost and complexity of NIRS and the convention of comprehensive training for accurate data collection. In an international initiative using transcutaneous NIRS to screen for bladder disease in Africa, we evaluated if interactive training enabled clinic staff to collect data accurately. Methods. Workshop training in a Ugandan medical clinic on NIRS monitoring theory; bladder physiology and chromophore changes occurring with disease; device orientation; device positioning over the bladder, monitoring subjects during voiding; and saving/uploading data. Participation in patient screening followed with observation, assistance, and then data collection. Evaluation comprised conduct of serial independent screenings with analysis if saved files were of diagnostic quality. Results. 10 individuals attended 1-hour workshops and then 0.5–3.0 hours of screening. Five then felt able to conduct screening independently and all collected data were of diagnostic quality (>5 consecutive patients); all had participated in screening for >1.5 hours (6+ subjects); less participation allowed competent assistance but not consistent adherence to the monitoring protocol. Conclusion. A simplified NIRS system, small-group theory/orientation workshops, and >I.5 hours of 1 : 1 training during screening enabled clinic staff in Africa to collect accurate NIRS data.