RFA for implementation of diagnostic connectivity for Cepheid GeneXpert devices in Malawi

Date posted:      11th of August 2017


Malawi has currently implemented 52 Cepheid GeneXpert devices for the molecular diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB). This diagnostic device is capable of producing electronic test information but they currently work standalone and are not connected. Results are mostly reported via paper-based systems using manual transcription. This limits the potential to maximize patient care and program management.

Challenge TB (CTB), USAID’s funded 5-year global program to decrease TB mortality and morbidity in high burdened countries, supports the national roll-out and implementation of diagnostic connectivity in Malawi for all Cepheid GeneXpert devices and request suitable candidates to react to this RFA.

Objective of RFA
To implement diagnostic connectivity for 52 Cepheid GeneXpert devices in Malawi to facilitate the automatic transmission and utilization of diagnostic data for a variety of use(rs).

Technical specifications
For Cepheid GeneXpert devices placed in health facilities without existing internet connectivity, the proposed diagnostic connectivity solution should provide connectivity hardware (router/modem) to allow automatic transmission of data from a Cepheid GeneXpert device to a server and a software platform to read and interpret data.

Connectivity hardware requirements
The proposed solution should use connectivity hardware and easy to maintain data or airtime plans. Connectivity hardware should be capable of preventing non-authorized applications to use data, secure access to designated server(s) and to connect multiple Cepheid GeneXpert devices in the same room. Technical specifications and/or rationale for hardware procurement should be provided. Mobile data contracts that can be billed centrally without interrupting the connection are essential. At last, it should be possible for other (authorized) applications to leverage on the connectivity infrastructure built during implementation to ensure long term sustainability.

Software platform requirements

Access management for user/group
The proposed solution should be capable of defining access and roles of certain user (groups).

Custom data field collection
The proposed solution should be capable to collect custom data fields (e.g. age, gender, HIV status, Treatment Category, smear result, specimen quality, residence, specimen type, risk group, etc.) -as defined by the Ministry of Health (MOH)/National TB Program (NTP) when a GeneXpert MTB/Rif test takes place- to generate key indicators. This will enhance the capacity of the MOH/NTP to generate performance indicators and provide data needed for several indicators of the WHO End TB Strategy.

Visual device management and remote monitoring
The proposed solution should have an online accessible dashboard that provides an overview of the facilities, devices and commodities in the diagnostic network, test and error result information from all GeneXpert devices to allow for more effective use of the capacity of machines and be able to aggregate data per district, zone and national level.

User-friendly, easily adjustable automatic reporting
The proposed solution should be capable of creating required national/zonal (weekly/monthly/quarterly) reports automatically. Next to these required reports, the proposed solution should be able to create individual reports based on user or stakeholder needs.

User-friendly, easily adjustable real time notifications
The proposed solution should be capable of sending (automatic) real time customizable notification messages via SMS, email or other channels (e.g. API) based on triggers (e.g. test result, GeneXpert status) to stakeholders or systems.

Integration and interoperability with other systems
The proposed solution should have an API interface to allow automatic integration of test results in a Laboratory Information Management System (e.g. DISA), patient management system, surveillance system (DHIS2) or other electronic registers with the aim to reduce staff time, transcription errors and facilitate M&E processes.

Inventory management
The proposed solution should be capable of inventory management, e.g. showing cartridges at hand at site- and central level to be able to anticipate stock-out dates, support forecasting of cartridges and prevent expiry of cartridges.

Maintenance, calibration and warranty tracking
The proposed solution should be capable to record service, warranty and maintenance events and produce relevant alerts. Functionalities include monitoring and alerting on (mal)function of machines, planning of maintenance events and timely calibration. This will contribute to improving the responsiveness of the NTP/NTRL and Authorized Service Provider to problems occurring in the diagnostic network.

Multi device / disease support
Malawi currently pilots the use of the Cepheid HIV-1 Viral Load cartridge on GeneXpert devices. The proposed solution should be capable to record results from this cartridge. It is an added valued when the proposed solution can connect with other diagnostic devices both for TB and/or other diseases such as HIV.

Other specifications

Data ownership and security arrangements

The system must be able to provide different access rights at different levels of the health care system to ensure optimal use of data for intended purpose. Installation of a dedicated in-country server is preferred and to be described.

A data usage agreement between the software provider and the MOH/NTP need to be set up that:

  • Assigns ownership of all data to the MOH/NTP
  • Describes in detail the planned storage and security of the data and any use of the data by the software provider, in compliance with respective privacy legislation in Malawi
  • Ensures that data stays confidential and is not disclosed to unauthorized users or by the software provider outside of the agreement

Local ownership and capacity building

Local ownership and sustainability of the proposed solution should be ensured by building capacity during trainings and/or workshops for designated personnel at GeneXpert sites and at central level NTP/MOH. A long term sustainability plan is preferred.

Installation and implementation
The candidate should be capable to provide support to local teams during roll-out and to install the diagnostic connectivity solution. Installation of the solution and first line technical support preferably to be provided by local partner/team. Technical maintenance and troubleshooting should be available on demand.


The diagnostic connectivity provider should be capable to start the roll-out of the solution nationally within 1 month after contract signing. The duration of the project will be 2 years.


The attached Budget Template Diagnostic Connectivity should be used.

Requirements for the submission of proposals

To complete the submission of the RFA please email by Sunday 20th of August 2017 before 23:59 CET to janwillem.dogger@kncvtbc.org.

The submission should include:

  • a description of the proposed solution including technical specifications/capabilities and timeline of activities during implementation and follow-up support with clear deliverables for candidate and in-country implementation partner
  • a statement that the candidate can undertake the works required to implement the solution within the timeline and is available to provide long-term support following the initial implementation
  • proof of the expertise, capacity and experience of the candidate (please include CV’s of team members) in the successful execution of comparable works
  • Budgeted costs of the project itemized along the main budget lines using the attached Budget Template Diagnostic Connectivity to clearly show what activities are budgeted for.

For any more clarification concerning this RFA please email janwillem.dogger@kncvtbc.org ahead of the closing date.