Efforts to mitigate effects of the HIV and Aids in Nsanje are being hampered by the absence of a CD4 machine at the district hospital. The machine developed a fault some weeks ago, according to authorities.
A CD4 machine helps medical practitioners to measure the strength of the immune system, hence determine when to put the patient on the life-prolonging anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs.
Friends of Aids Support Trust (Fast) official Prince Nyakulekha said the development is proving detrimental to the gains registered in the fight against HIV and Aids.
“At the moment, it is difficult for people who get tested across the town zone to have their CD4 count monitored. As an organisation, we are involved in advocacy for people to utilise health services that are provided at various health facilities. For this reason, it is important that these should always be available,” he said.
Nsanje district Aids coordinator Knowledge Tembo said the hospital is currently using facilities from other health units around the main hospital.
Official information from Nsanje district health office indicates that 12 000 people are currently on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in the district.
The information further indicates that between June 2014 and June 2015, over 40 000 people went for HIV testing and counselling (HTC) services in the district and 10 percent of them were found to be living with the virus.