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The challenges of monitoring the health of HIV patients in rural Africa

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Africa is a large, diverse continent Rich in environmental and human resources. Its peoples have struggled against many enemies over time. But none so relentless or deadly as HIV-AIDS. Grassroots organizations, medical personnel, social service agencies, Educational institutions, government ministries and many others are working at the national and international levels to attack the problem on a wide range of flanks CD4 testing is a technique that allows us to determine how many T-cells of a specific type are in the blood. And those specific T–cells are important in AIDS. It’s indicative of your immune status. So, these particular CD4 cells give us some idea of how your immune system is responding to insult and that insult in AIDS is, of course, the HIV virus If you look at Africa there are maybe three types of healthcare needs. There are those in the university hospital setting where there’s really a very large, high quality technology access in the environment for healthcare delivery and that’s one area. And then there’s a second area which is a little more remote from that, but hospitals, where there’s again a reasonable access to healthcare Then there’s a third component that is a more rural component and those are the least serviced groups in healthcare and our goal was to address that area. Through the use of workshops and online surveys, critical field use issues were identified I can tell you, in rural areas in Imo State, CD4 testing is non-existent. This means for 3.5 million people you have only two centers that can measure CD4 count in the whole state so the issue of CD4 testing is very acute. Health care in this part of the world has come to a point where there is need to access the grassroots That’s where I compare the impact of any technology available. To that effect, I think the high level, high tech scenario would need be stepped down to a point where we can have maybe handheld kits that can be used without more demand on energy and power at the grassroots level Well, the testing programs are beleaguered by the same problems that actually bother modern instrumentation of medical care. One, power supply, the power supply is non-existent most of the time. When it comes, it is erratic it goes off and on, and that’s a major hindrance to the equipment life span. Most of the equipment gets damaged in a very short time. Now, portability and mobility of the test. You can’t take the test around. Everybody has to come to a center. The most important thing would be, to be able to move around with the test and go where the patients are When you can get your CD4 levels measured, you can be a candidate for life saving therapeutics. And once you get those therapeutics, you need to have your CD4 levels measured every few months

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 1 second
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Cytometry for Life
Director: Lova
Views: 81
Posted by: lrakoto on Aug 5, 2008

Testimonials from immunologists and medical experts from Abuja and Owerri, Nigeria on CD4 testing for HIV patients.
Arguments for low cost, portable instruments are discussed.

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