The GeneXpert machines will improve HIV service provision at point of care sites in local communities for HIV viral load testing among people living with HIV (PLHIV) and support diagnosis of HIV exposed infants while the other machines will contribute to tuberculosis (TB) control through strengthening diagnostic capacity that will increase case identification, leading to treatment.
Executive Director for Tanzania Health Promotion Support (THPS) Dr Redempta Mbatia handed over the equipment to the minister of Home Affairs George Simbachawene on behalf of implementing partners.
“The donated equipment will be installed at health facilities with high patient volume and poor diagnostic capacity,” she said.
According to the Tanzania HIV Impact Survey (THIS) 2017, HIV prevalence is 4.9 percent among people 15 years old and above. Prisoners are at higher risk of TB and HIV infection due to their environment, and high-risk behaviour among some population groups namely sex workers and people who use drugs.
Prior to this donation, out of 64 supported health facilities 10 had GeneXpert machines used mostly for TB diagnosis, and nine had iLED microscopes for TB diagnosis.
This results in low HIV viral load testing coverage among PLHIV in supported health facilities and low health facilities and community TB case identification.
USAID’s police and prisons activity will target the identification of PLHIV through partner testing, transitioning to optimal antiretroviral regimens, multi-month drug prescriptions; viral load suppression, TB case identification, multi-drug resistant case identification, and TB prevention roll out.
As a result of the equipment handover, over 16,000 PLHIV in 64 police and prison health facilities will benefit from improved laboratory services.
Speaking at the event, USAID Mission Director Kate Somvongsiri said; “The 10 GeneXpert machines and 10 iLED microscopes donated are part of USAID’s commitment, through resources from the President Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. This equipment will enhance our ability to provide comprehensive HIV prevention, care, and treatment, and TB programmes in Tanzania.”