By Agnes Kyotalengerire
KISORO hospital no longer has to send samples to Kabale district for laboratory examination after it acquired a fully equipped laboratory.
The equipment, including a CD4 count machine, all worth sh230 million will help HIV/AIDS patients undergo various tests and treatment.
The renovation of the laboratory and procurement of the equipment was funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)/ US Agency for International Development (USAID) through the STAR South West project.
Speaking during the launch of the laboratory on Tuesday, 22rd January Edward Michalski, Executive Officer USAID/Uganda said the enhanced laboratory will enable the scaling-up of a range of health services to the people especially in HIV/AIDS care and treatment, prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV and TB diagnostic services.
Dr Edward Bitarakwate hands over a motocycle key to Kisoro district CAO, Masereka Amis Asuma
“The hub will now make it possible for the hospital laboratory to meet the testing requirements of the district and positively impact on the lives of the people who utilize the services,” Michalski said
Other equipment delivered included a haematology analyser, a clinical chemistry machine with all their accessories.
The laboratory will serve over 2,614 people living with HIV/AIDS who are enrolled in care at the hospital and those from lower level health facilities.
According to the Bureau of Statistics data 2012, Kisoro district with a population of 250,800 people including an ever-lasting refugee in flow from neighboring countries of Rwanda ad Democratic Republic of Congo, has an HIV prevalence rate of 8% amongst adults (UAIS 2011) which is rather higher than .the national figure.
Edward Bitarakwate the Country Director of Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation/STAR S-W project said Kisoro being one of the underserved districts, the laboratory will help improve the quality of care and treatment at the hospital and the district in general.
‘Our target is to ensure all HIV/AIDS patients get to know their CD4 count and start on treatment early,” he said adding, “the hub is expected to serve as a referral point for all chemistry and haematology tests in the district beyond HIV/AIDS.”
Bitarakwate said people with other ailments do not have to travel to Kampala because they will be able to carry out liver and renal tests using the humanalyser.
He urged people living with HIV to continue with treatment and encouraged pregnant women and those who did not know their status to seek the free services.
Edward Michalski and Masereka Amis Asuman cut the tape during the launch of the Kisoro laboratory
The hospital’s senior laboratory technician, Joseph Nturo, the equipment would ease the monitoring of the CD4 count cells of HIV-infected people in the area.
“We have been sending blood samples for CD4 count to Kabale. This would create backlogs because the facilities in Kabale would accommodate limited number of samples.Nturo said with a functional laboratory, the hospital will be able to test 100 CD4 count samples in a day compared to 20 previously.
Chief Administrative Officer Kisoro district, Masereka Amis Asuman said the equipment reduces the cost enabling the district health team to do other things to improve the quality of care and services of vulnerable mothers, children and patients.
Masereka urged the hospital staff to deliver the services to the people and use the equipment professionally.