People living with HIV and AIDS in Nkhata-Bay are worried that the lack of a CD4 count machine at the district hospital is compromising their health.
Almost 10 months have elapsed since thieves broke into the hospital’s stores and made away with the CD4 count machine, which is yet to be replaced.
Speaking in a recent consultative meeting organised by Kalondolondo Programme, a consortium of Council for Non Governmental Organisations in Malawi (CONGOMA), Plan UK, Action Aid and World Fit for Children, and people living with HIV/AIDS described the situation as a big setback.
Apart from indicating body immunity levels in a person living with HIV and AIDS, a CD4 count machine also determines if there is a need to change the type of ARV treatment a person has been receiving.
The concerned people said the situation had brought discomfort among them as they have to spend a lot of money to travel to Chintheche Rural Hospital or Mzuzu Central Hospital for the service.
World Fit for Children Executive Director, Samuel Kayiwonanga Gondwe, called upon the Ministry of Health to intervene before the situation gets out of hand.
“CD4 count machines are important to people living with HIV/AIDS as it detects their immune system levels. As World Fit for Children, we are appealing to the Ministry of Health and other relevant authorities to intervene before the situation gets out of hand,” Gondwe said.
While underscoring the significance of the machine, hospital Chief Clinical Officer Charles Scott said in the interim, medical personnel were using physical observations to determine type of help to give people living with HIV and AIDS.
“World Health Organisation trained medical personnel in the country to use physical observation if one qualifies to start ART or not,” he said.
He encouraged people living with HIV and Aids to continue visiting the hospital for any health care services they might require.