LILONGWE --Vice President, Khumbo Kachali Tuesday launched a new Abbott automated molecular viral load testing machine.
The Mk80.8 million (U$300,000) machine donated by the United States, monitors viral load in patients on Antiviral Treatment (ART), early infant diagnosis and Hepatitis B virus. It will also be used in conducting DNA test and RNA PCR on Dried Blood Samples (DBS) and plasma samples.
Speaking after the launch, Kachali who is also health minister, aid Malawi as a country was losing many people through HIV and AIDs infections.
He said from the time the first HIV diagnosis was reported, Malawi has lost people who played significant roles the country’s development.
Kachali however said the increase in number of deaths was as a result of lack of efficient equipment that would have been used in detecting HIV and stop viral progression.
“As you are aware… for years as a country, treatment for HIV was based on WHO staging protocol; however, recently new guidelines were developed and adopted in Malawi. These guidelines emphasize the importance of Viral Load Monitoring.
“Since the inception of Malawi’s ART Programme in 2004, CD4 count has been used to monitor ART failure. With the new guidelines in place, the viral load testing will replace CD4 count monitoring,” said Kachali.
“Evidence has shown that keeping viral load levels as low as possible for as long as possible decreases the complication of HIV disease, slows the progression from HIV infections to AIDs and prolongs life. This equipment is modern and will in a long run to compliment government’s efforts of providing quality health to people.”
Kachali commended the American Government for procuring the machine which will save many lives.
Lisa Vickers, Charged ‘Affairs American Embassy, said the American government decided to make the donation as part of scaling up efforts in the fight against the disease.
“We are happy to support the people of Malawi in achieving an AIDs free generation, and it is our hope that the support will directly lead to saving many lives of Malawians now and well in the future. We also hope that this machine will contribute to a stronger national laboratory system and professional community,” she said.
©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.