Ministry of Health has installed eleven viral load testing equipment at all provincial hospitals in the decentralisation of healthcare services, Director of clinical care and diagnostic services Kennedy Lishimpi has revealed.
He said the viral load testing equipment located at 11 major health institutions were meant to shorten distances and as well as time for medical laboratories procedures to be undertaken.
Dr Lishimpi said previously, test samples would get destroyed or even go missing because of long distances from the only facilities which had the testing equipment at University Teaching Hospital (UTH) and the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) in Lusaka.
He said with the facilities now at provincial centres, many people were receiving results early and also acquiring treatment forthwith.
“Government is making strides in reducing new HIV infections among its people, especially among the growing generation exhibiting high trends of new infections. “But we have so far installed viral load testing medical equipment at all major health institutions in the country except for the new province, Muchinga, although plans are already underway to procure the equipment,” Dr Lishimpi said.
He explained that the high new HIV infection rate among adolescents was more a cultural problem the taboo for adults to discuss sexual issues with young people.
Dr Lishimpi said it had proved difficult to discuss sexual issues with young people as it was against African culture although it was becoming inevitable to educate them on the realities of HIV/AIDS.
He explained that without concerted consented efforts, Zambia would not attain the set year 2020 for 90-90-90 targets aimed at 90 percent people knowing their HIV status; 90 percent known HIV-positive patients to be on treatment; and 90 percent of people on treatment with suppressed viral loads.
He said with effective collaboration with various stakeholders, the Government would work towards achieving the set goals in the eradication of new infections, and effective treatment of HIV.