NTRH Has A Point Of Care Testing Machine
This crucial step enables the referral facility turnaround time between viral load tests and availing of results to less than a day, down from the current average of 34 days.
Laikipia becomes the seventh county to avail this cutting edge technology to the patients and will serve neighbouring counties of Nyeri, Meru, Isiolo, and Samburu. The machines has an advantage of minimal test errors.
The move was informed by the need to have HIV test facility within reach. For instance, of the total of 8,823 viral loads tests done in 2018, 16 percent needed urgent intervention because the viral load was higher than expected, thus informing the need for facility-based test device for instant response. Infants, children, adolescents and mothers under the prevention of mother-to-child-transmission (PMTCT) program are the primary target beneficiaries of the new technology.
The program targets to reduce mother to child transmission from the current 13 percent to below five percent.
Previously, the medical facility relied on the Kenya Medical Research Institute laboratories in Nairobi, an arrangement that could take up to 77 days for test samples to be returned, a situation that compromised early decision making.
The delays have resulted in deaths of infants from HIV-related illnesses and complications as they waited for laboratory results.
The 9.4 million shilling HIV viral load test system is part of a plan to expand HIV/Syphilis diagnostics including Early Infant Diagnostics and viral load monitoring in the
Under the Point of Care testing (POC), patients will now have their test results on the same day of visit, giving room for medics to make early decisions that will save more lives.
The project was made possible through partnership between the County Government and United Nations International Childrens Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The UN agencys contribution includes procurement of the POC device, stakeholder engagements, community and training and implementation of Laikipia elimination of MTCT business plan 2018-2020.
To achieve a robust referral system, Afya Nyota ya Bonde, a medical organization at the forefront of HIV management has contributed eight motorcycles to complement transportation of samples between the peripheral facilities and the testing sites. This will drastically reduce the time it takes for samples to be tested and results returned for timely intervention.
The project is part of a wider plan by the government to scale up quality of maternal care by spreading out resources across the county. In Laikipia North, for instance, the government has rolled out a plan to reward traditional mid wives with a goat for every skilled infant delivery done at the medical facilities. The plan is to advocate for safe skilled deliveries among the people by linking traditional cultural incentives with the modern medical practices.
The government has continued to expand maternal care facilities by constructing maternities at the lower level medical facilities across the county. This is part of the implementation of the Laikipia Universal Health Coverage model where focus has been concentrated on decentralizing medical services by strengthening structures at the low tier medical facilities.