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Turkana receives gene Xpert machines

Turkana County on Tuesday morning received two additional Gene Xpert machines from USAID through AMPATH to help in combating Tuberculosis (TB) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

Turkana County Health Team pose for a photo after receiving the donations at the County Headquarters, outside The Governor’s office. Photo by Ekuwam Sylvester

The Sh5 million diagnosis equipment were to be dispatched to the sub county hospitals in Turkana North and Turkana East to enhance their capacity to conduct diagnosis on TB, HIV and Covid-19 virus.

Speaking at the County Headquarters, County Executive Committee Member (CEC) Jane Ajele appreciated the donation saying the two additional machines would support the Ministry of Health in reaching out to serve the residents in the far-flung areas of the County.

“In total, we have eight gene Xpert machines in Turkana now, two in Lodwar County and Referral Hospital, two in IRC Kakuma, one each in Lopiding and Katilu. These new ones are going to the areas with no Gene Xpert machines and that is Turkana North and Turkana East,” said Ajele.

“We are now able to support those people. They will be doing their testing, Early Infant Diagnosis and also TB and Covid tests in those areas,” she added. On his part, USAID AMPATH Chief of Parties Prof. Sylvester Kimaiyo commended the Turkana County Governor’s efforts in enhancing partnership with AMPATH for the last 18 months.

Prof. Kimaiyo said the additional Gene Expert machines were a perfect choice in the diagnosis of Viral Load Count for Pregnant and lactating Mothers (PMTCT), Early Infant Diagnosis (EID), Tuberculosis (TB) and Covid-19.

“A Gene Xpert machine uses gene technology to do the tests. It is not like microscopy. It uses RNA and DNA deep molecular level. These ones are 4-module which means they can carry out four tests at once,” Explained Prof. Kimaiyo.

“We already know that TB diagnosis is a difficult thing to do and using Gene Expert machine is the best in diagnosing TB. For mother to child transmission of HIV, we use Early Infant Diagnosis (EID), we don’t use the ordinary HIV tests,” added Prof. Kimaiyo.

Speaking after receiving the donations from the USAID AMPATH Chief of Parties Prof. Sylvester Kimaiyo at his office in Lodwar Town, Turkana County Governor Josphat Nanok thanked the United States government for the donations through USAID AMPATH adding that the two diagnosis equipment would help cut the cost residents undergo when travelling to have access to diagnosis services especially those in the areas with no Gene Xpert machines.

“We really appreciate the donations that the US government through USAID AMPATH is giving the people of Turkana. These two diagnosis equipment will further to help us cut the huge cost patients undergo by travelling long distances to access diagnosis. It will also cut out on referrals,” said Nanok.

Present during the event was Turkana County Chief of Health Cpt (Rtd) Augustine Lokwang, AMPATH Care Lab Director Sylvia Kadima and Turkana County Medical Laboratory Coordinator (CMLC) James Maragia among others.

By Ekuwam Sylvester

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