KIGALI - King Faisal Hospital- Kigali has extended the days of free HIV counselling and testing services from two to three to meet increasing demand.
The hospital will now be conducting the exercise even on Fridays unlike before when it was carried out on Mondays and Tuesdays only.
During the hospital’s HIV Awareness Day, yesterday, free counselling and testing was offered throughout the day.
The hospital’s chairman of the HIV Committee, Dr. Joseph Ntalindwa, explained that the hospital had reached out to sensitise people about the importance of knowing their HIV status and as a result, they had been overwhelmed by the number of people who were turning up for the tests.
“The lesson learnt out there is that there are people who need this service. This is why we made Friday an exclusive day for testing,” Ntalindwa said.
“The biggest limitation is that people feel that King Faisal Hospital is expensive and can cater to only those who can afford. However, with good sensitisation, they will know that HIV testing and counselling services are free.”
Ntalindwa said that with an additional day of counselling and testing, the hospital would need more counsellors and space to receive clients privately.
It would also require them to establish partnerships with anti-AIDS clubs in secondary schools and universities.
“We hope to organise regular sensitisations and reach out to non-institutionalised youth and other vulnerable people and test them for HIV,” he said.
He added that the hospital’s schools project, “Ganishuri” had recorded a positive impact and would soon cover all schools and youth centres in the country.
“We started with Apaper Secondary School where we trained and tested 59 students for the first phase of this project,” said Ntalindwa.