Byo faces CD4 vi­ral load test­ing ma­chines cri­sis

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Than­deka Moyo

BULAWAYO is fac­ing a vi­ral load and CD4 test­ing ma­chines cri­sis as three fa­cil­i­ties have been fail­ing to con­duct tests due to break­downs, thereby bur­den­ing Mpilo Cen­tral Hos­pi­tal.

Sta­tis­tics from the National Aids Coun­cil show that the United Bulawayo Hos­pi­tals (UBH) failed to test clients for six months as its ma­chines were down.

CD4 tests mea­sure the num­ber of CD4 T-cells in the blood to gauge the strength of the im­mune sys­tem in the pres­ence of HIV in­fec­tion.

Vi­ral load test­ing, the gold stan­dard in ART mon­i­tor­ing, is used to mea­sure HIV lev­els in the blood, an in­di­ca­tor of the drugs’ success.

In 2013, WHO rec­om­mended vi­ral load test­ing as the pre­ferred mon­i­tor­ing tool for di­ag­nos­ing and con­firm­ing ART fail­ure.

UBH and Ingut­sheni ac­cord­ing to Nac did not con­duct any vi­ral load tests dur­ing the first quar­ter and third quar­ter of this year.

Sta­tis­tics show that Mpilo Cen­tral Hos­pi­tal was be­ing over­whelmed due to break­downs at other in­sti­tu­tions.

The hos­pi­tal con­ducted a stag­ger­ing 20 296 CD4 tests while UBH con­ducted only 423 while Ingut­sheni Cen­tral Hos­pi­tal had 126. Bulawayo City clin­ics had 6 263 tests be­tween Jan­uary and Septem­ber.

“The ma­jor prob­lem we’re fac­ing is that ma­chines at UBH are al­ways down. So far Mpilo has been con­sis­tent in do­ing vi­ral load tests which amount to 5 054 from Jan­uary to Septem­ber,” said Nac.

UBH con­ducted 84 tests, Bulawayo City Coun­cil had 3218 while Ingut­sheni had 37 dur­ing the same pe­riod.

UBH chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mrs Nonhlanhla Ndlovu con­firmed that the in­sti­tu­tion failed to do tests for six months as the only CD4 ma­chine was down.

“We had a chal­lenge be­cause the ma­chine could not be fixed for six months and the tech­ni­cian had to take it to Harare for re­pairs. We only have one ma­chine so when it breaks down, it leaves us with no al­ter­na­tive and we just have to wait for it to be fixed,” she said.

Mrs Ndlovu said the CD4 ma­chine started func­tion­ing well in Au­gust this year.

Al­though rou­tine vi­ral load test­ing is the stan­dard of care for peo­ple liv­ing with HIV on ART in de­vel­oped coun­tries, the cost and com­plex­ity of cur­rently avail­able tech­nolo­gies limit avail­abil­ity in re­sour­ce­poor set­tings.

In Zim­babwe, vi­ral load test­ing is done in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare. Blood sam­ples must be col­lected at lo­cal clin­ics and hos­pi­tals and sent to cen­tral lab­o­ra­to­ries for anal­y­sis, which can cause lengthy de­lays in re­ceiv­ing re­sults in the treat­ment cas­cade. — @thamamoe

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.