Aids Health Care Foundation (AHF) has donated three CD4 machines to help in testingfor HIV and immunity of patients before putting them on antiretroviral therapy.
The machines worth Rwf100m were handed to Dr Jean Baptiste Mazarati, the head of National Reference Laboratory in Kigali yesterday.
They will be distributed to three health centres, including Kimironko and Kinyinya in Gasabo District and Rwankeri in Nyabihu District.
Dr Mazarati, appreciated the partnership between AHF and the government of Rwanda and their efforts in fighting against HIV/Aids.
“A CD4 machine is critical for HIV care; it allows our clinicians to know when to start Aids patients on life-saving therapy, when to change the medicine and why,” he said.
In HIV positive individuals, CD4 counts help determine the stage of infection, guide drug choices and indicate the response to treatment and virus progression.
The test is repeated every four to six months to track the infection and predict its course.
“Every district hospital has a CD4 machine where other health centres take their tests. This will solve the problem of of delay in getting of results and patients will get their results in time,” he added.
Emilee Musabyimana, the head of Kinyinya health centre said there has been a big challenge in taking the blood for testing to district hospital as it takes long to get results back.
“This will make work easy. Also proper medication can be prescribed because the machines will be available. The distance patients have been travelling to district hospitals has also been cut short,” he said.
Fighting for common goal
It was noted that there is need for qualified laboratory technicians to conduct the tests.
The head of AHF Africa Bureau, Dr Penninah Iutung affirmed commitment to supplement government efforts to reducing the rate of new HIV infections in the country and Africa in general.
HIV/Aids prevalence is still high in Africa.
“We need to join efforts in fighting for a common goal and control the disease in the Sub –Sahara countries, this will help more patients to get treatment,” Iutung said.
She urged Rwandans to ensure preventive measures against HIV infection.
“When more efforts are taken like to be faithful to your partner, circumcision and use of a condom. It will help control the spread of HIV in Africa,” she added.
AHF provides antiretroviral drugs, CD4 testing and lab monitoring, nutritional supplements and treatment for opportunistic infections and supports the health centres through hands-on clinical mentorship and training.
Rwanda is among the few countries that have attained universal access to antiretroviral therapy (ART’s), according to Millennium Development Goals report 2012.