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Rats on the rampage: Destroy CD4 counter machine at Bulongwa HIV/AIDS clinic

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by BAK, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Aug 31, 2008
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    Rats on the rampage: Destroy CD4 counter machine at Bulongwa HIV/AIDS clinic, forcing patients to walk all the way to Makete


    RATS are reported to have damaged a US-make CD4 counter machine used to analyze the progression of the HIV virus in people and determine whether they need anti-retroviral drugs at Bulongwa Lutheran Hospital in Makete District, Iringa Region.

    According to the reports, the FacsCount machine has been wrecked since January this year after rats ate parts of the electric supply cables.

    As a result of the crisis, all blood samples of people living with HIV and AIDS in the Bulongwa area are now being referred to the Makete District Hospital and Ikonda Roman Catholic Hospital.

    Makete District Medical Officer Dr Joshua Kapande told THISDAY that the district hospital currently each week receives between 25 and 30 blood samples from Bulongwa Hospital for HIV/AIDS checks.

    ’’The CD4 counter machine at Bulongwa has been out of service since last January, and I try to assist by sending a motorcycle over there every Wednesday to collect blood samples of patients to do CD4 count here,’’ Dr Kapande told THISDAY in an interview here.

    The Dar es Salaam-based Biocare Health Products Limited, sole local agent of Becton Dickinson company which manufactures the FacsCount CD4 counter machines, is understood to have supplied a new machine to the Bulongwa hospital earlier this month, but it has yet to be set up for operation.

    ’’Biocare technicians came here to fix the old machine, but deemed it impossible. So the company supplied a new machine earlier this month�although the technicians are yet to fix it up,’’ said Makete District Laboratory Technician, China Mbilinyi.

    However, Bulongwa Hospital administrator Edward Masevella had a different story to tell: ’’We have two brand-new, functioning FacsCount CD4 machines here�the problem we have had is not having a qualified laboratory technician to run it.’’

    Masevella said the hospital’s last qualified lab technician absconded from work earlier this year but both FacsCount machines, one supplied by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the other by Kenyan-based charity organization Tunajali, are functioning properly.

    While the Makete District Hospital is understood to have a functioning FacsCount machine supplied by Biocare Health Products along with the Bulongwa Hospital machine back in 2006, the Ikonda Hospital uses a German-make Cyflow CD4 counter machine.

    When THISDAY visited the HIV clinic at Bulongwa last Wednesday, people had not undergone their regular CD4 count this year.

    ’’I was supposed to have my CD4 count examined last April but it wasn’t done because they said the machine is broken down,’’ said one male patient with identity card number 1102022000381.

    His card indicates that his last CD4 count was done in February 2007, when his tally was 35. He is frail and has protruding cheeks.

    A female patient found at the clinic, with card no. 11220013, said her last CD4 count observation was done in September last year, when she tallied 691.

    ’’I am fine�with me the CD4 counting isn’t a big deal. I just need the medicine,’’ said the patient as she joined a lengthy queue of people living with HIV and AIDS currently on antiretrovirals.

    With a population of just over 116,400, Makete District’s prevalence rate for HIV/AIDS currently stands at 16 per cent, according to available statistics. This makes it the district most affected by the AIDS scourge throughout the country.
  2. Steve Dii

    Steve Dii JF-Expert Member

    Sep 5, 2008
    Joined: Jun 25, 2007
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    ....tumsubiri Mh. Rais wetu aende Marekani tena kuomba msaada wa paka-wala-panya na sumu ya kuulia panya ili mashine kama hiyo zisiharibiwe tena!! :(
  3. Mbogela

    Mbogela JF-Expert Member

    Sep 12, 2008
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    For some of us, who are hailing from Makete, particularly in villages around Bulongwa we know the situation is worse than what have been stated in Thisday. There are patients who are not able to access treatment in the hospital following treatment costs, walking distance and incompetence of the staff. We suppose that HIV/AIDS drugs (ARV) should be free, however the OI treatment is very expensive in Bulongwa Hospital. We all understand that what kills people is NOT AIDS it is the OI. So why the government should don't think on another simple alternative on the best way to help the people.

    The MoH subsidies salaries of some staff at BLH so as to bring the running cost down, yet the treatment is unaffordable. Usually the payroll is tempered and BLH has become like a private business. The names of dead people to be found in the government pay roll it is normal at Bulongwa Lutheran Hospital.

    PIUMA have applied to MoH to assist in distributing ARV through its Mobile clinic, MoHSW promised to send experts to asses PIUMA's infrastructures, this discussion was held in 2006 (by official letters) it had never been in Place NO watalaam from the MoHSW have ever visited PIUMA. PIUMA is still waiting!

    When I walk in Villages, I see people dying in their huts because they cannot be treated. They cannot be treated because the government have decided to go for a wrong technology. I say a wrong technology because the government have decided to go for a technology that will NOT work in the most part of Tanzania.

    The government replaced the very working CD4 working CYFLOW machine made in Germany with the FACS counter a technology from the USA in Bulongwa Lutheran Hospital 2006.T

    I know ever since the Cyflow Counters were replaced by MoH in the year 2006, hundreds of patients have not been tested their CD4, the problem have not started only in February this year, the problem have been there ever since that day around May 2006 when Professor Mwakyusa assured People of Bulongwa that he have solved the problem by replacing the machine.

    The New Machine never worked properly because it has faced severe technical faults now and then. While the machine that were sent out from the Hospital worked properly for two consecutive years without hearing a failure even for a single day, today we hear that there are people have gone without test for more than seven months.

    The quoted are the one who are on ARV, imagine how worse will it be for those who have not started the treatment yet, as they are on monitoring period. It is very important to determine the CD4 trends for the people who have not yet started ARV so as to be able to know exactly when to start treatment. So I know for sure in Bulongwa it has not been done for years now. How worse! The so called doctors (by the way the hospital has no single MD) wait until when one is serious sick to start the treatment.

    I am challenging anyone who is interested on this story to visit the hospital and do a random sampling from the patients files for the names or number of People that are in waiting list if they have ever been tested they are CD4?

    I am very worried that even this machine at the District hospital that is said to be used to test the CD4 from Makete is real working for all the CD4s from the two big hospitals. Some times in the year 2007 this machine did not run for number of months as they did not have cleaning water.

    Our expertise and people of a learnt class of Tanzania always try to run for simple solution even though they know for sure the solutions will costs the life of the majority. Hundreds of people are dying in Bulongwa not because of HIV/AIDS or the associated OI, BUT they are dying from lack of proper treatment and proper care.

    I wonder if Professor Mwakyusa have ever been in Bulongwa or sent any one to assess the situation ever since he was there with Hon. Lediana Mng'ong'o (representing TACAIDS) bringing FACS counter which today we are hearing it has been destroyed by rats?.

    I thought Lediana would find time in her tight schedule visit her voters in Iringa especially Makete people and see how things are moving, sit with them, discuss and come up with a proper strategies, at the end she should see if the implementation is accordingly. She is the chair lady for the parliamentarian Committee for HIV/AIDS, why NOT? Being the chairperson of the very powerful committee, TACAIDS Commissioner now she has more power and chances to help Makete.

    It is sad that HIV is afflicting the peasants in Makete, but those who are deciding how should these people be helped are in Dar Es Salaam, many of them had never been in Makete, they work from hear say. That is why we always end up hearing more fund raising to help orphans and HIV/AIDS work in Makete, of which most of the cash has never been transferred to Makete (Tsh.>52 Mil 2005 collected in Dar never reached Makete). If they would have come to Makete and make an assessment they would have understood what is needed is not fund raising, it is commitment, transparency and corrupt free responsible community including leadership.

    It is Pity!

    For more Information rergading with the CD4 counters Please Visit http://www.cd4counter.blogspot.com]The voice of transparency and CD4 where is the transparency