THE Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) has received 12 new state of the range Chemistry Anlaysers valued at Euro 350,000.00 with a capacity of carrying out not less 200 blood tests per hour.
By Michael Gwarisa
The donation deal was brokered by the National Aids Council (NAC), a German Firm Humanstar and a local firm, Diagnostics Laboratory Suppliers.
The analysers will be distributed in 12 hospitals countrywide including Josiah Magama Barracks and Hospital, Manyame Air base, Chinhoyi hospital, Mtoko Hospital, Marondera Hospital, Nyanga, Bindura, Thorngroove, Gwanda hospital, St lukes and One Maid Hospital.
Speaking during the handover ceremony of Humastar 200 chemistry analysers by Diagnostic Laboratory Supllirers, NAC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr Tapiwa Magure said the new shift to the new technology will improve on efficiency as well as put emphasis on short turn around in terms of results so as to ensure patients no longer wait for long hours or even days to get their test results.
“On behalf of the National AIDS Council Board, Management and Staff, it is an honour for me to have been requested to say a few remarks at this occasion to mark the handover of the chemistry analysers by one of our long term partners in the response to HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe.
“Our relationship with Diagnostic laboratory Services and indeed Human who are the manufacturers of this chemistry analysers began several years ago, when the National AIDS Council procured 12 chemistry analysers for use at central hospitals. The chemistry analysers were some of the first equipment we purchased when Zimbabwe entered the multi-currency regime, which as you are aware, improved the economy as we used stable currencies,” said Magure.
He added that NAC had instruments in the market which had been operating for the past seven year with NAC, but they discovered that the instruments needed an upgrade in terms of the software and also on functionality so that it can serve a much better purpose.
“During that time our national anti-retroviral therapy programme was undergoing rapid expansion on the back of improved AIDS Levy inflows and external support from the Global fund, the United States of America Government and other donors.
“We realized that as more and more of our people were getting initiated on ART, there was an urgent need to invest in relevant equipment to monitor ART clients for drug toxicity as you are aware, this could affect several vital organs of the body.”
The National AIDS Council is responsible for managing the National AIDS Trust Fund (NATF) and we have continued to invest in the national ART programme. Over the years, NAC has invested 50% of the AIDS Levy towards ART in line with policy.
“In addition to equipment procurement, we also invest in servicing the same equipment, in ARV drugs and ART outreach to ensure rapid expansion and follow up especially in remote areas.
“You may be aware that our Minister here has designated us to coordinate cancer interventions, and I am glad to report that we have already invested significantly in procurement of equipment and anti-cancer drugs and training. With regards the machines we are receiving today and the old ones, the National AIDS Council shall continue to procure the relevant reagents as part of our mandate,” added Magure.
According to NAC, the new machines will enable a smooth transition from the old system, while also providing for handling of complex test and increased workload.
“We are therefore very grateful to Human and Diagnostic Laboratory Suppliers, who in addition have committed to providing free installation of the equipment, training of staff and user support at the twelve sites for free.
“Our pursuit of the 90-90-90 by 2020 fast track targets and eventual goal of ending AIDS by 2030 will benefit significantly from this donation. The machines will support our efforts to ensure that 90% of ART patients have their viral load suppressed by 2020, which is a key indicator of the success of our work.”
Meanwhile, officiating at the handover ceremony, Health and Child Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said effective roll out of the national antiretroviral therapy programme is heavily dependent on the supportive diagnostic equipment, which plays a central role in monitoring of ART clients, particularly as we pursue the 90-90-90 by 2020 fast track targets.
“We therefore require an assortment of such equipment including chemistry analysers, whose handover we are witnessing today, courtesy of a donation from our Germany friends at Human and their local partner Zimbabwe Diagnostic Laboratory Suppliers.
“The 12 new Humastar 200 will replace the old 12 Humastar 180 analysers that were procured by the National AIDS Council for central hospitals nearly seven years ago. You may be pleased that the old machines will not be phased out, but will be deployed to other sites which did not have chemistry analysers. Our service coverage is therefore expanding and I am pleased about that,” said Minister Parirenyatwa.
The machines have to date won several excellence awards, including the iF Product Design in 2014 beating 3248 entries in 17 categories, in areas of quality of design, workmanship, level of innovation, environmental compatibility, ergonomics and other aspects. In 2015, the same product also won the German Design Award making it a premium piece of equipment. In this regard, we are not just receiving a product, but one that has held its mettle in terms of quality.