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Homa bay HIV/AIDS testing hampered by lack of kits

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) testing and counseling in public facilities in Homa Bay County has been hit by shortage of testing kits.

County Director of preventive and promotive health Adel Ottaman said the situation had negatively impacted on the efforts to fight the disease.

He said that the shortage of the kits had led to residents who were seeking such services at public health facilities being turned away.

Ottoman said his department has consequently been unable to collect data on new HIV infections in the past six months.

He said the situation had negated interventions that government as well as Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other stakeholders had put in place to curb the spread of the disease.

“The fight against HIV-Aids is a serial process and shortage of testing kits has a knock-on effect on other processes hence we need to get a solution,” Ottoman said.

Speaking Tuesday in Homa-Bay town, Ottoman said most residents seeking such services at Homa Bay County Teaching and Referral Hospital were being directed to buy kits from private clinics and conduct the tests at home.

A staff from Liverpool VCT, an NGO which runs HIV counseling and testing in Homa-Bay Teaching and Referral Hospital said the outcome of the tests conducted outside health facilities was never captured in the records.

He said under such circumstances, results which come out as HIV positive will not be captured in the government’s database for necessary action.

He said they have been reporting to work every day to offer counseling services only.

Homa-Bay Teaching and Referral Hospital had adopted a system where all patients undergo voluntary HIV tests. This was being done at the outpatient department, at the emergency department and other areas, but since the crisis began, all the tests were suspended.

The hospital Chief Executive Officer Peter Ogolla said the crisis is impacting all departments at the hospital.

“HIV tests has been put as a mandatory test for all patients seeking medication at Homa Bay Hospital. We also do it at tuberculosis wards and other departments handling various diseases,” Ogolla said, adding, stakeholders were working on ways of providing a solution to the problem.

By Davis Langat

 

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