Govts CD4 machine change

HARARE - In a bid to ease congestion in health institutions across the country, the government will be using Point of Care (POC) machines to determine CD4 count levels in people before they can be put on antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Addressing journalists recently at a media workshop about reporting on HIV/AIDS issues, Ministry of Health and Child Welfare’s national ART coordinator, Dr Tsitsi Mutasa-Apollo, said the new POC machines, though expensive, were very

easy to use and did not require experts.

“We are faced with a situation when the conventional CD4 count machines are only operated by laboratory technicians and not nurses. Given that the country has suffered a lot from brain drain, we currently don’t have enough of these technicians and this is stalking progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS here in Zimbabwe.

“The new POC CD4 count machines are easy to use such that they can be used by the nurses as they will be carrying out their routine checks on patients and this will cut the amount of time one has to wait to be put on ART as it brings instant results,” she said. Dr Apollo also said there was need to decentralize the HIV testing and initiation of ART down to nurses as opposed to the current situation where only doctors are allowed to initiate ART. She also said there were 593 000 people in urgent need of Anti-retroviral Treatment.

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