Shortage of testing kits is derailing efforts to combat HIV and Aids in Malawi, officials have said.
Speaking in Lilongwe during the Central Region Counsellors Network meeting on Friday, the districtâ€™s HIV testing and counselling coordinator, Effie Limbe, said several health centres are failing to provide voluntary testing and counselling (VCT) services due to lack of the kits.
â€œThe testing kits are not enough. As a result, we end up closing the centres until we get new supplies. Sometimes we hunt for testing kits in other districts,â€ said Limbe.
The counsellors, drawn from nine districts in the region, met to discuss couple and child counselling apart from sharing experiences and challenges in their field.
Lighthouse director Dr Sam Phiri said couple counselling is crucial in the battle against HIV and Aids because â€œsome discordant couples need advice to avoid infecting each otherâ€.
â€œDiscordant couples are those that have different HIV status. It becomes a big problem when it is the wife who is HIV positive, unlike when it is the male partner. The service providers need to handle such couples well,â€ said Phiri.
He also said they drilled the counsellors in child counselling because children require careful handling when testing and counselling them.