Inter Press Service (Johannesburg) (02.20.12) - Wednesday,
Last year, students at Kenya's Strathmore University began
software development on a database system to help speed up the
delivery of HIV test results for infants in remote areas.
Diagnosis within six weeks of birth ensures the timely
initiation of antiretroviral therapy.
With the system already implemented in 75 of Kenya's most
remote health centers, blood samples are logged into one of
the four central Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) CDC
laboratories. A text message is sent to the rural health
center confirming the sample's receipt. Upon diagnosis,
another text confirmation is generated to the rural center,
which notifies parents the results are ready.
"As a policy, all positive results on the [polymerase chain
reaction] equipment have to be re-run for confirmation in
order to avoid false positives that might be due to
contamination," said Oscar Mulondanome, a lab technologist at
the Alupe Center testing laboratory.
Use of the system is cutting down the time spent waiting for a
diagnosis, delays that can span up to 18 weeks. An additional
50 facilities will be connected to the testing sites in trial
phases, said Silvia Kadima, a researcher with KEMRI. By April,
the software will be further customized and officially rolled
out by the government, Kadima said.