Zimbabwe is set to become the first country in Africa to implement point of care HIV and AIDS treatment for infants after the First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa sourced the latest medical technology in HIV infant diagnosis and viral load testing that can detect the HIV virus in newly born babies within a short space of time.
Amai Mnangagwa, who is the ambassador for child and maternal health was touched when she realised during her hospital tours around the country that babies born to HIV positive mothers especially in outlying areas would wait for three to four months before the baby’s status is known which in most cases delayed treatment.
The First Lady then sourced point-of-care diagnostic equipment which gives rapid results for the detection of HIV genetic material especially in HIV exposed infants, who have a one in two chance of early death if HIV infection is not diagnosed and treatment started within the first six weeks of life.
In response to Amai Mnangagwa’s plea, a company that manufactures the transformative machine known as Samba Two, Diagnostic of the Real World, handed over 10 machines to the First Lady at Zimbabwe House in Harare today (Monday).
The company’s CEO, Professor Helen Lee demonstrated to Amai Mnangagwa how the equipment works.
She said Zimbabwe becomes the first country in African to use the equipment which will help improve efficacy in treatment, improve patient care as well as quality of treatment.
Maternal and reproductive health issues are an area of major concern for Amai Mnangagwa who has been advocating for access to health for women and children.
She thanked the company for its swift response to her appeal, saying the availability of the equipment will help support government interventions especially in the area of prevention of mother to the child HIV transmission.
Health and Child Care Deputy Minister, Dr John Mangwiro noted that the availability of the equipment will enable the government to provide a complete package of HIV management on site despite one’s location, and that the country will make the desired impact of increasing the number of infants tested and treated of HIV.
Early this year, the government procured 100 point of care machines, which were distributed to 25 districts across all provinces and the machines sourced by the First Lady will help save the lives of thousands of infants born to HIV positive mothers.