Laboratories play a critical role in the continuum of care for HIV positive patients. Laboratory tests and results provide the vital information needed for health workers and patients to manage the HIV virus and keep it under control for the health of the patient and reducing chances of passing the virus to others.
However, with a population of about one million people living with HIV in Zambia, there has been an overwhelming need for Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) laboratory services to be provided in all health facilities providing ART care.
Through generous funding from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and partnership of U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CIDRZ has been providing capacity building supervisory and technical assistance aimed at accelerating government laboratory service improvements in Lusaka, Western, Southern and Eastern provinces.
We have been identifying hospitals and clinics that need laboratories. In these facilities, we have renovated their laboratories and will procure equipment that will enhance their service provision at facility level. CIDRZ envisions a situation where ART services are provided as closer to the people as possible.
We recently visited Mazabuka Hospital and Chongwe Urban Clinics to inspect progress on renovations on the laboratories. We are proud that Chongwe works have been finalized while Mazabuka renovations are on course to being finalized.
This is aimed at building local capacity to provide onsite ART laboratory services, reduction in result turnaround time, full integration of operations with the Ministry of Health structures such as national forecasting, quantification, procurement, equipment maintenance plan and distribution and as a sustainability guarantee of ART laboratory services.