TEST TO TAKE ONLY TWO HOURS

Equipment for HIV testing on newborns launched in Laikipia

In Summary

Laikipia County government has unveiled Point of Care laboratory testing equipment that will help in faster-diagnosing newborns born with HIV.

The laboratory device, one of its kind in Mt. Kenya and Rift valley region, takes only two hours to determine the HIV status of an infant thus greatly reducing the time previously taken for the same test that would go up to 77 days since the blood samples had to be taken to the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).

Nanyuki Teaching and Referral Hospital
HEALTH: Nanyuki Teaching and Referral Hospital
Image: /COURTESY

 @Waithaka06

The Laikipia government has launched Point of Care laboratory testing equipment to help with speedy diagnosing of babies born with HIV.

The laboratory device, one of its kind in Mt Kenya and Rift Valley region, takes only two hours to determine the HIV status of an infant. This helps reduce the  time previously taken for the same test which would take up to 77 days since the blood samples had to be taken to the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).

While unveiling the testing device at Nanyuki Teaching and Referral Hospital, Governor Ndiritu Muriithi said that the Sh10 million laboratory would not only help people from county, but also from neighbouring counties.

“With this new testing equipment, we can drastically reduce the time taken to get HIV results of an infant and thus make necessary interventions,” Muriithi said.

The testing equipment was acquired with the assistance from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Afya Nyota ya Bonde, a local NGO that assists in the fight against HIV/Aids.

UNICEF trained local laboratory technicians. Afya Nyota Bonde donated eight motorcycles for ferrying blood samples from far-flung areas where the road network is poor.

UNICEF chief of HIV section in Kenya Pierre Robert said the Point of Care testing would greatly assist in reducing the number of complex steps in the blood testing process, reduce potential for errors and accelerate availability of critical test information in expediting diagnosis.

Robert said with the acquisition of the testing device in Laikipia, the turnaround time for obtaining the results would be less than one day as opposed to between 34 to 77 days previously.

“Doctors, nurses and other medical staff who regularly deal with the treatment of HIV-infected infants will now be able to ensure they have the earliest possible access to life-saving antiretroviral treatment,” Robert said.

Afya Nyota ya Bonde deputy chief of party in Kenya Dr Lucy Matu said the Point of Care testing devices would be installed in Baringo, Samburu, Kjiado and Nakuru counties as they would help in the infection rates of HIV in the country.