The Ministry of Health and Child Care received a US$1 Million worth of donation in equipment used for early infant diagnosis to eliminate Mother to Child HIV Transmission.
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) donated 41 POC-EID machines, 41 modems for the above machines, 183 SMS printers with service maintenance agreements.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) partnered the EGPAF, funded by UNITAID to implement the ‘Optimization of early infant diagnosis (EID) networks through introduction of point-of-care (POC) EID to increase the number of infants tested and initiated on antiretroviral treatment (ART) creating a market for affordable, effective and equitable HIV testing of exposed infants’ project.
The Minister of Health and Child Care, Obadiah Moyo, who graced the occasion said the equipment will go a long way in reducing the time frame, from sample collection, processing and issuing of results to care givers, from 90 days to same day service.
“This technology will lead to timely initiation of live saving ART for those found infected, thus impacting on both the quality of life for the infants and their survival. I am informed that most clients are getting their results on the same day with point of care as compared to 30-60 days with conventional testing,” said the Minister.
“I am informed the cost per result returned in 30 days for point of care is US$37.89 compared with US$131.02 for conventional testing. This makes use of POC technology more cost effective,” added the Minister.
“I am also informed that the 41 machines were recently upgraded to do viral load testing which will significantly contribute to decentralization of viral load testing and achievement of the third 90. My ministry will continue to embrace new technology that will improve quality of service that we provide to our clients.”
Deputy director, AIDS and TB in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Tsitsi Apollo said the coming in of the new technology brings the elimination of new childhood HIV infections within Zimbabwe.
The Minister commended the partners for consistently working tirelessly to stimulate momentum created at global levels to keep Zimbabwe on the cutting edge in as far as responding to HIV is concerned.