The Nation, February 8, 2014
by Dyson Mthawanji
Diginitas International, a medical and HIV/Aids research organisation, has procured a state-of-the-art CD4 count machine that will improve Aids treatment at Mulanje Hospital where the number of HIV tests are expected to increase from 150 to 500 per month.
The organisation’s medical programme manager, Teferi Beyene, told Weekend Nation that the new machine is efficient and will assist clinicians in determining when HIV positive patients should begin antiretroviral treatment.
Said Beyene: “Nearly 50 percent of health facilities in the district rely on Mulanje Hospital for CD4 sample testing, thus the advanced machine will significantly increase the number of people initiated on antiretroviral drugs.”
According to Beyene, the new machine can process samples at room temperature unlike the old machine which required samples to be stored at cooler temperatures before being analysed.
This proved to be a challenge for Malawi’s sub-tropical climate as samples transported from rural health centres could heat up, rendering analysis impossible.
Diginitas has procured the machine, worth $48 000 (about K19 million) with funding from USaid.
Beyene said eight laboratory technicians at the hospital have already been trained on how to use the machine.