Zimbabwean Hospitals Lack Lab Materials for HIV Testing
September 29, 2005
The lack of lab chemicals is making it hard for public hospitals in Zimbabwe to conduct HIV tests, according to the state-run Herald newspaper.
At Chitungwiza General Hospital, a large public hospital about 12 miles from Harare, a "critical shortage" of reagents has caused HIV testing equipment to sit idle for four months, said laboratory scientist Tendai Nyakuedzwa. "We have to make do with only two rapid on-spot HIV tests," said Nyakuedzwa. "But in the case of determinant results, we need the machines that, as it is, we cannot use now due to their state of disrepair." In addition, the machine used to test HIV viral loads has been unused for a year, also owing to a lack of reagents.
While the chemicals needed are available in neighboring South Africa, Zimbabwe is critically short of the foreign currency needed to import them. Private medical institutions offer the tests, but the high prices charged put them out of the reach of many patients.
Several HIV/AIDS patients "had to be turned away" in the past year from Chitungwiza and from Harare General Hospital, the paper said.
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.