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Ministry trains health facilities officers on new HIV testing model

Tuesday, June 4th, 2024 01:45 | By
Empower adolescents to fight HIV scourge
Blood samples for HIV test. PHOTO/Pexels

The Ministry of Health has started training counties and health facilities on the use of the new HIV testing model ahead of the July arrival of the three-test algorithm kits.

According to the National AIDS and STI Control Program (NASCOP), training kicked off in seven Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASAL) counties in the regionalised phased programme.

And beginning this week, according to Nascop Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Rose Wafula, the training will advance to capacity building for health workers and other health facilities managers.

“In the process of rolling out the three-test HIV testing algorithm, we are training masters of Trainers of Trainers, then move to empower health facilities with knowledge of how the new model works,” she said during a one-day workshop for health reporters.

The roll-out is a phased programme where the 47 counties have been assembled into five groups.

“We have a plan that has considered the current two-test HIV testing algorithm, and we are careful not to waste the resources that are being used in this old model,” she added amid anxiety raised by some members of the National Assembly Committee on Health last week.

Raised alarm

Kitutu Chache South MP Antony Kibagendi, a member of the Committee, raised alarm over failure by the ministry to apply the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards, while conducting suitability tests regarding transition of HIV testing algorithm (method).

However, Dr Wafula dismissed the concerns, setting the record straight that the Ministry had not received any communication or advisory from the WHO, about HIV testing kits to be adopted for use in Kenya.

She re-assured Kenyans that the kits are WHO pre-qualified, and a pilot on the new model of HIV testing—set to be deployed from next month—showed success.

“In November last year, the WHO recommended the three-test HIV testing algorithm for both the general population and in antenatal care settings,”  Dr Jonah Onentiah, Nascop’s HIV Testing Services (HTS) programme manager said, noting that this a standard three-test strategy which uses three consecutive HIV-reactive tests to provide and HIV-positive diagnosis.

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