Demonstrating public health at work: A demonstration project of congenital syphilis prevention efforts in Bolivia

Document Type

Article (peer-reviewed)

Publication Date



Objectives: We introduced syphilis immunochromatic strip (ICS) tests into antenatal care (ANC) settings in Bolivia and evaluated feasibility, patient and provider acceptability, and introduction costs. We conducted complementary studies on related topics, strengthened quality of care, and aided the response to sensitive aspects of maternal/congenital syphilis control (e.g., partner notification). GOAL: The goal of this study was to discuss our experience working with Bolivian stakeholders to document potential public health benefits of syphilis ICS test introduction in ANC settings. Study Design: We trained public health personnel and offered the Abbott Determine Rapid Syphilis TP test in 4 urban maternity hospitals and 37 rural clinics. Results: Using the ICS test, 11,618 women were tested for syphilis; 5% had positive results and 93.2% received treatment. Women and health personnel found the test acceptable and introduction costs were not prohibitive. Conclusions: Based on these findings, by mid-2006, the Bolivian Ministry of Health will offer the ICS tests in rural ANC settings.