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Establishment of Laboratory steps up universal healthcare

The  World Bank (WB) -funded Hospital Laboratory in Trans Nzoia has begun operations that will boost Universal Health Care.

The  Laboratory established in 2011 through the East  Africa Public Health Laboratory Networking Project (EAPHLNP) serves Trans Nzoia, West Pokot, Bungoma, Kakamega, Elgeiyo Marakwet and Turkana Counties.

The  EAPHLNP is a regional project funded by the World Bank/International Development Agency (IDA) aimed at establishing a network of efficient high quality and accessible public health laboratories for diagnosis and surveillance of TB and other communicable diseases.

The countries covered by the programme are partner states of East African countries of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The  Regional coordination and planning for the project in the five countries is done by the East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) based in Arusha.

Implementation of the project in Kenya is done by a Project Coordinating Unit (PCU) based at the National Public Health Laboratory.

The  WB established five such laboratories in Kenya which are among the 41 laboratories established in the East African region. Others were established in Busia, Machakos, Malindi and Wajir.

The  Trans Nzoia County Laboratory officer in charge of the facility, Daniel  Wekesa said that the laboratory serves as a centre of excellence in the region and is used in disease diagnosis and surveillance which will go towards offering affordable and quality healthcare.

“We want to urge residents to come forward and seek testing services since laboratory technicians carry out routine tests and specialised tests for patients,” he noted.

Among the routine tests that they carry out include a test for typhoid, amoeba, malaria, syphilis among others while specialised tests include CD4 count for HIV patients.

He said laboratory services are free as they are supported by the WB in conjunction with the county government of Trans Nzoia .

“The county government has been supporting us with the purchase of some reagents for testing patients ,” he noted.

The Lab technician told KNA in an interview in his office that the WB equipped the laboratory with State of the Art equipment and latest technology in disease testing which are able to give results within a short period of time enabling the technicians to perform many tests.

He noted that since it was established, the laboratory has helped in managing cholera outbreaks in both Trans Nzoia and West Pokot Counties.

According to the Lab technician, the facility has assisted neighbouring counties like west Pokot to manage diseases whenever there is an outbreak.

“Currently, we are doing Tuberculosis (TB) surveillance in the region among other diseases,” he said..

He added, “We are doing MTB surveillance and we have specialised equipment known as Gene Xpert in this laboratory that enables us to give results within two hours after feeding it with samples,” he disclosed.

Currently, the laboratory is carrying outreach programmes in hard to reach areas where they take laboratory services to test for diseases for prompt response to diseases and management.

Last week the laboratory outreach programme was conducted in Sosio-Teldet in Mt. Elgon among the Ndorobo communities who hardly get medical services due to lack of a medical facility in the area.

The nearest facility is located at Gitwamba over 20 Kilometers from the area where the community lives. They generally rely on traditional medicines in managing diseases.

Laboratory technicians and clinicians did tests among the community members and gave them free medication while others were referred for specialised treatment to the nearest medical facility.

Under the programme, the WB trained health workers in various disciplines such as internal audit and bio-safety among others.

By  Pauline Ikanda

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